Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion

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Random House Publishing Group, Jul 14, 2020 - Literary Collections - 320 pages
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
 

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User Review  - kglattstein - LibraryThing

I have to admit that I absolutely loved some of the essays, some of them were tedious and too wordy, and I skimmed some. I have this book on my list to reread. All of Jia's commentary is intelligent ... Read full review

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User Review  - KWharton - LibraryThing

So many spoilers in the "Pure Heroines" chapter! Don't read it if you don't like spoilers! There are spoilers about Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, Twilight, The Virgin Suicides, and probably many others I can't remember. Read full review

Contents

Reality TV Me
34
Always Be Optimizing
63
Pure Heroines
95
Ecstasy
130
The Story of a Generation in Seven Scams
157
We Come from Old Virginia
196
The Cult of the Difficult Woman
235
thee Dread
263
Acknowledgments
293
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About the author (2020)

Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Raised in Texas, she studied at the University of Virginia before serving in Kyrgyzstan in the Peace Corps and receiving her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. She was a contributing editor at The Hairpin and the deputy editor at Jezebel, and her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Grantland, Pitchfork, and other publications. She lives in Brooklyn.

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