Can we feel the pain of a character in a novel ? Immersed in a fiction, a reader may experience various somatosensory feelings. Such an experience of "empathic reading" is hardly conceivable through theories of interpretation that ignore the role of the biological body. On the contrary, an approach embracing embodied cognition, that weaves together neurology and literature, phenomenology and theories of fiction to discuss the era-defining, turn-of-the-millenium works of American writers Dennis Cooper, James Frey, Chuck Palahniuk and Mark Z. Danielewski, reveals the role of empathy in literary reading. This approach not only elucidates an intriguing phenomenon, it also redefines artistic value in terms of sensory impact and fictional immersion, thus promoting a richly embodied mode of reading, an empathic reading.