Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion (Unabridged)
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “From The New Yorker’s beloved cultural critic comes a bold, unflinching collection of essays about self-deception, examining everything from scammer culture to reality television.”—Esquire
“A whip-smart, challenging book.”—Zadie Smith • “Jia Tolentino could be the Joan Didion of our time.”—Vulture
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE’S JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST BOOK • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY AND HARVARD CRIMSON AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • Chicago Tribune • The Washington Post • NPR • Variety • Esquire • Vox • Elle • Glamour • GQ • Good Housekeeping • The Paris Review • Paste • Town & Country • BookPage • Kirkus Reviews • BookRiot • Shelf Awareness
Jia Tolentino is a peerless voice of her generation, tackling the conflicts, contradictions, and sea changes that define us and our time. Now, in this dazzling collection of nine entirely original essays, written with a rare combination of give and sharpness, wit and fearlessness, she delves into the forces that warp our vision, demonstrating an unparalleled stylistic potency and critical dexterity.
Trick Mirror is an enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self-delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives. This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly through a culture that revolves around the self. In each essay, Tolentino writes about a cultural prism: the rise of the nightmare social internet; the advent of scamming as the definitive millennial ethos; the literary heroine’s journey from brave to blank to bitter; the punitive dream of optimization, which insists that everything, including our bodies, should become more efficient and beautiful until we die. Gleaming with Tolentino’s sense of humor and capacity to elucidate the impossibly complex in an instant, and marked by her desire to treat the reader with profound honesty, Trick Mirror is an instant classic of the worst decade yet.
FINALIST FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAY
Enjoyed substance of the book. The narrator, however, spoke too fast at times making it hard to follow.
Not Not a Millennial Joan Didion
After hearing comparisons drawn between the two, I was excited to start Tolentino’s book of personal essays. Indeed, her perceptions and deconstructions of life after Web 2.0 and first-hand narratives of being a child reality TV star are emblematic of a generation. Even her dedicated study of Houston’s music scene, which is awkwardly juxtaposed with her time spent as the member of a mega-church, read as fresh histories.
However, her cadence falls short of Didion, owing much instead to Jezebel.com and the pervasive dithering feminism so often encountered in the comments section of YouTube. I applaud her research into internet cultures at the beginning of the book, but by the time she’s unraveling the history of marriage ceremonies at the end (“I Thee Dread”), her cutting insights into late capitalist excess have burned out.