Naomi Klein’s new book, Doppelganger, is a departure for her. One some of her closest friends even cautioned her against. On the one hand, it is what we’ve come to expect from Klein, a brilliant framing, through the coining of new language, of our current political moment. And yet Doppelganger is decidedly more personal, more vulnerable, more inward-looking than her previous books. And not only does it have a strain of a more literary nonfiction running through it, it also centers literature and the ways the literary history of doubles and doppelgangers can help us make sense of the doubling we are encountering in our lives—whether fake news narratives for everything from COVID to climate change; or AI; or the avatars that we create to represent us on social media; or the friends we’ve lost to what Klein calls “the mirror world” since the pandemic, over vaccines and masks. And the new political terms she is engaging with, from sacrifice zones to shadowlands, are deeply relevant to the choices we make as writers and art-makers as well. And writers from China Miéville to Kim Stanley Robinson are some of the many luminaries singing Doppelganger‘s praises.
For the bonus audio archive Naomi reads for us from Philip Roth’s Operation Shylock, a book that features prominently in her book. She reads a letter that fake Philip Roth (his doppelganger) writes to the real Philip Roth. It is not to miss. To find out how to subscribe to the bonus audio archive and explore the other potential benefits and rewards of joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter head over to the show’s Patreon page.
Finally, here is the Bookshop corresponding to today’s episode.