Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World

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    Naomi Klein

    Publisher: Knopf Canada

    Year: 2023

    Format: Hardcover

    Size: 416 pages

    ISBN: 9781039006898

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What if you woke up one morning and found you'd acquired another self—a double who was almost you and yet not you at all? What if that double shared many of your preoccupations but, in a twisted, upside-down way, furthered the very causes you'd devoted your life to fighting against?

Not long ago, Naomi Klein had just such an experience—she was confronted with a doppelganger whose views she found abhorrent but whose name and public persona were similar enough to her own that many people confused her for the other. For a vertiginous moment, she lost her bearings. And then she got interested, in a reality that seems to be warping and doubling like a digital hall of mirrors. It’s happening in our politics as New Age wellness entrepreneurs turned anti-vaxxers find common cause with fire-breathing far right propagandists (all in the name of protecting “the children”). It’s happening in our culture as AI gobbles up music, paintings, fiction and everything in between and spits out imitations that threaten to overtake the originals. And it’s happening to many of us as individuals as we create digital doubles of ourselves, filtered and curated just so for all the other duplicates to see.

An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, public intellectual and activist, Naomi Klein writes books that orient us in our time. She has offered essential accounts of what branding, austerity, and climate profiteering have done to our societies and souls. Now, as liberal democracies teeter on the edge, Klein takes aim at absurdist authoritarianism, using a keen sense of the ridiculous to face the doubles that haunt us. Part tragicomic memoir, part chilling reportage and cobweb-clearing analysis, Doppelganger invites readers on a wild ride, smashing through the mirror world, charting a path beyond despair towards true solidarity.

About the Author

NAOMI KLEIN is the award-winning author of international bestsellers including This Changes Everything, The Shock Doctrine, No Logo, No Is Not Enough, and On Fire, which have been published in more than thirty-five languages. She is an associate professor in the department of geography at the University of British Columbia, the founding codirector of UBC’s Centre for Climate Justice, and an honorary professor of Media and Climate at Rutgers University. Her writing has appeared in leading publications around the world, and she is a columnist for The Guardian.

What People Are Saying


“I’ve been raving about Naomi Klein’s 
Doppelganger . . . I can’t think of another text that better captures the berserk period we’re living through.” Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times

“On her highbrow romp through this disturbing underworld, Klein’s writing is clear, dynamic, ruthlessly honest, imbued with a rare integrity. She brings unusual rigor to her examinations of herself, including her flaws. She is that nearly extinct breed of activist: one who never stops questioning orthodoxies and interrogating her own beliefs.
Doppelganger showcases her superb ability to cut through clichés and received ideas, as well as intellectual conventions. . . . There is something hopeful in this project, in its sheer intellectual ambition and range, its effort to pick apart and decipher the absurdities and ironies of our political derangement, which almost no other writer could pull off. If I had to name a single book that makes sense of these last few dark years, it would be this one.” Katie Roiphe, The New York Times

Doppelganger is an in-depth critique of what late-stage capitalism hath wrought. . . . It’s also much more. Klein wields her polymathic expertise like a sword, slicing through the mirror world via political theory; tech anxiety; literary criticism; and films famous and obscure. . . . You can’t help but be invigorated by Klein’s intellectual synthesis and dexterity, even as her gimlet eye makes you want to run screaming into the night. . . . Timely and timeless, a work in a grand tradition." Los Angeles Times

"Gripping and revealing . . .  both as a psychological study and for its explorations of the double in art and history, the disorienting effects of social media, and the queasy feeling of looking into a distorted mirror. . . . Generous and capacious. . . . A uniquely astute account of the scrambled political formations that have come out of the pandemic. . . . The focus of
Doppelganger is not an individual but, as in the expansive visions of Klein’s other books, a system that fractures society and drives people apart." The New Republic

“A call for ethical engagement, skeptical pragmatism, and a critique of how forms of political and ethical idealism can curdle into violence. . . . [Doppelganger] is a book urging us not to turn away from the difficult work of acknowledging moral and political complexity in a world with many contradictory realities—lest all our mirrors shatter and everything goes blank.” ABC News

“A compelling and far-reaching political detective story. . . . As a writer and a theorist, Klein is particularly talented at knitting together the sweep of history and the banalities of the present. . . . No other book I know of has been this intellectually adventurous, this loopily personal, or this entertaining.”
The Nation

"An evolution for Klein, in terms of its style and content. . . . An altogether more personal approach. . . . The lucidity of [her] prose and the ease with which she weaves together cultural analysis, political commentary and personal reflection makes this a deeply compelling read, one which feels urgent and necessary as we enter yet another period of political strife. . . . Klein gives shape and context to that apocalyptic mindset--and implores us to offer-up an alternative."
Evening Standard

“A deeply insightful inquiry into the way technology fuels the polarisation of society. . . . In articulating and examining some of the darker forces of the world her “double” inhabits, Klein never forgets that the primary purpose of mirrors is actually self reflection; to understand the other, you first have to know yourself.” The Guardian

“As always with Klein’s work, Doppelganger is a bold, brave, and expertly researched book. . . . Klein dares to not just lay out the problems before us but to offer practical, considered solutions for them too.” Irish Times

“Refreshingly honest. . . . [Doppelganger is] a brilliantly incisive and unsettling work that reflects the urgency our times demand. . . . This is an essential guide.” Saturday Paper

“Once a decade, Naomi Klein writes a book that prompts us to completely rethink the moment we’re in.
Doppelganger helps us to understand, in a deep and tectonic way, why our society is becoming unrecognizable to us - and why so many people we know are changing in disturbing ways. It’s a book about going down a rabbit hole that becomes about the nature of the rabbit hole itself. If you want to understand where we are now - and how to find our way back to sanity - you have to read this totally brilliant book.” Johann Hari

"[A] brave new book. . . . By the end [of
Doppelganger], I wondered if maybe Klein had come closer than ever to cracking the code that reveals what, really, is at the heart of our collective dysfunction. . . . Klein brings her analytical prowess and keen wit to an exploration of the concept of doubles. . . . [She] blends the personal and the political so seamlessly that it’s hard to imagine they could ever be apart." Bill Lueders, The Progressive

"[A] striking meditation. . . . Klein’s writing is perceptive and intriguingly personal. . . . By articulating such an expansive view of the uncanny, Klein's mesmerizing narrative reflects the unique anxieties and modes of analysis that have come to dominate the online era. Like Klein’s previous books, it’s a definitive signpost of the times."
Publishers Weekly

"Klein’s prose is tight and urgent . . . evoking both laughter and dismay and entrancingly matching the mounting frenzy of seeing your public self morph into someone else. . . . [Klein's] comprehensive and nuanced treatments of these issues are valuable and compelling . . . A disarming and addictive call to solidarity." 
Kirkus Reviews

"[Naomi Klein's] provocative thought exercise illuminates the myriad ways taken-for-granted balances can be upended and calls for heightened awareness of the dangers of identity erosion on both large and small scales." 
Booklist (starred review)

“Naomi Klein’s thoughtful and honest inquiry into the troubling duplication of her name and the distorted appropriation of her views becomes the occasion for an incisive account of how the Right has appropriated Left discourses, producing a nightmarish doubling that has plunged some of us into silence. Klein writes herself back into existence and brings the rest of us with her, contesting the self as both brand and projection. In the course of a truly admirable struggle against proprietary selfhood, Klein illuminates the threat of mirroring posed by Fascist messaging that absorbs and negates the most urgent convictions on the Left. Klein moves her reader toward the truer grounds of solidarity in these times, showing us how to resist the lures of Fascism with militant humility and connection, letting ourselves be upended by what we thought we could not bear to see so that we can face and build an affirmative future.” Judith Butler, author of
Gender Trouble and The Force of Nonviolence

“Naomi Klein’s books have been building one on the next to create a very powerful and influential cognitive mapping of our time. This new book takes a personal turn, then opens out into an analysis of our shared global dilemma that is as incisive and fascinating as anything she has ever written—which is saying a lot. And it’s also quite moving. As always, my first thought on finishing one of her books is Thank you.” Kim Stanley Robinson, author of
The Ministry for the Future

“It seems ever more possible that our society might collapse under the sheer weight of nonsense and performance and crazy misinformation that overwhelm our infoworld. With her trademark clarity and perception, and with chemo-level doses of wit and common sense, Naomi Klein goes further than anyone has gone so far in helping us understand that buzzing and confounding mess, and to see some ways out. If ever a book was necessary, it’s this one.” Bill McKibben, author of
The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon and Falter

“Naomi Klein has been one of our most important intellectuals, distilling the political economies of corruption and crisis in our time. Her new work examines the ways these crises have taken new form, exemplified by the absurd and dangerous political stunts and spectacles that have come to dominate our societies today. Klein plunges into the topsy-turvy world of doubles, mirrors, and shadowlands to show that the growth of the right is not a case of despised malignancies infecting our otherwise pure societies; rather, it’s a matter of our own fears, insecurities, and defense mechanisms, all of them rooted in a savagely unequal and violent society. Klein writes with humor, enormous bravery, and humbling vulnerability. This is an extraordinary book.” Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

“This book is as foreboding as a guide through the maze of mirrors of the modern right should be. But it’s not only that: Naomi Klein has made
Doppelganger gripping and scintillating, too. The result is a reckoning with the present moment that’s as insightful as all of Klein’s indispensable work, and as suspenseful as a novel.” China Miéville, author of The City & The City and A Spectre, Haunting: On the Communist Manifesto

"A dazzling, hallucinatory tour de force that takes the reader through shadow selves and global fascism, leaving them gasping by the end." Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood

"I finished this book and nearly cried with relief. Klein gave me the gift of being calm. She explores and diagnoses with empathy, warmth and searing precision the confusion and utter madness of what it is to be alive right now. This is a big book with big ideas which poses the most direct questions for our times. Everyone needs to read it as a matter of urgency." Sheena Patel, author of I'm a Fan

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