Encounters with the Invisible: Unseen Illness, Controversy, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

$15.95 Buy online
or call toll-free 1-800-826-8911
$22.50, cloth

Southern Methodist University Press
ISBN 0-87074-504-2

Available in Spanish / Español


"Dorothy Wall's riveting account of her experience of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) will provide companionship for those afflicted and serve as an eye-opener for those who are not."
~ Anne Hunsaker Hawkins, Director, The Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine at Penn State's College of Medicine, and author of A Small Good Thing: Stories of Children with HIV and Those Who Care for Them

Encounters with the Invisible: Unseen Illness, Controversy, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Afterword by Nancy Klimas, MD

From the publisher:

While news stories tout the successes of molecular science, genemapping, and high-tech interventions to treat disease, there's another, untold story within today's medical landscape. It is the story of the growing number of chronic, controversial illnesses--chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity--poorly served by today's biomedical, pathogen-oriented approach to disease.

With a lyric, incisive voice, Dorothy Wall blends the personal story of her struggles with ME/CFS with a graphic sketch of the ME/CFS terrain: the woeful federal response, patient advocacy politics, medical debates, environmental questions.

Eighteen chapters explore a spectrum of issues. "Listening" conveys the impact on a patient when medical practitioners are deaf to her story, and posits listening as a moral act. "That Name" leaps into the minefield of controversy between and among patient advocacy groups, researchers, and the medical establishment over the power to define, name, and legitimize disease. "The Erotics of Illness" pulls readers to the intimate core of illness, with its upheavals, pain, and tenuous pleasure. "Staying Home" explores the meanings of enclosure for women and the struggle to find purpose and meaning in a reduced, homebound life.

Personal drama merges with literary reflection, reportage, and medical history. An important investigation of what many are calling "postmodern" illness, Encounters with the Invisible offers a thought-provoking look at a controversial illness and the challenge to biomedicine it presents.


Read Encounters with the Invisible
Prologue or download a PDF (105kb)
Table of Contents or download a PDF (90kb)

Read Dorothy Wall's letter to readers, "On writing Encounters with the Invisible"


See Dorothy Wall talk about writing Encounters with the Invisible: click either of the arrow buttons to play.

About.com: a conversation with Dorothy Wall, author of Encounters with the Invisible

Health Points: A visit with author Dorothy Wall - pdf

Phoenix-cfs.org: an interview with Dorothy Wall about writing Encounters with the Invisible

Reviews & Press

"Encounters with the Invisible is a beautifully written book and probably the best personal account of living with a chronic illness I have ever read. Wall is gifted with extraordinary descriptive abilities. You don't just read about her illness; you experience it with her. You will relate to it equally as well if you have fibromyalgia, Gulf War Syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity, or any one of a number of chronic and controversial illnesses. If you're looking for a book that will offer you comfort, encouragement and hope, this is the book for you."
~ Karen Richards, About.com

More reviews of Encounters with the Invisible


To purchase Encounters with the Invisible: Unseen Illness, Controversy, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
$15.95 Buy online or call toll-free 1-800-826-8911.

Available in Spanish / Español



Press packet: publicity kit pdf (299kb download) Spanish publicity / Publicidad en Español (500kb)

Cover photo: "Hartwig House, Truro, 1976" by Joel Meyerowitz