This book left a profound mark on me and actually inspired me to write about pain myself. I love its thoughtfulness and poetic style, its interdisciplinary nature and the fact that a scholar of literature has so much to say about the world outside the academy. She writes about how pain radically separates the sufferer from the observer of pain. For the sufferer, pain is the prototype of certainty – there’s no way to doubt that you have pain. But it is the exact opposite for those who observe a person in pain. How can we be really sure another person is in pain? Scarry then goes on to explore the far-reaching consequences of these two observations, in medicine, in torture, and in war.