Reflections on Self-Delusion
by Jia Tolentino
Pub Date 06 Aug 2019
From one of the brightest young chroniclers of US culture comes this dazzling collection of essays on the internet, the self, feminism and politics.
This is a whip-smart, challenging book that will prompt many of us to take a long, hard look in the mirror. It filled me with hope’ Zadie Smith
We are living in the era of the self, in an era of malleable truth and widespread personal and political delusion. In these nine interlinked essays, Jia Tolentino, the New Yorker’s brightest young talent, explores her own coming of age in this warped and confusing landscape.
From the rise of the internet to her own appearance on an early reality TV show; from her experiences of ecstasy – both religious and chemical – to her uneasy engagement with our culture’s endless drive towards ‘self-optimisation’; from the phenomenon of the successful American scammer to her generation’s obsession with extravagant weddings, Jia Tolentino writes with style, humour and a fierce clarity about these strangest of times.
Following in the footsteps of American luminaries such as Susan Sontag, Joan Didion and Rebecca Solnit, yet with a voice and vision all her own, Jia Tolentino writes with a rare gift for elucidating nuance and complexity, coupled with a disarming warmth. This debut collection of her essays announces her exactly the sort of voice we need to hear from right now – and for many years to come.
‘Jia Tolentino is the best young essayist at work in the United States, one I’ve consistently admired and learned from. In these nine chapters, she rethinks troubling ingredients of modern life, from the internet to mind-altering drugs to wedding culture. All through the book, single sentences flash like lightning to show something familiar in a startling way, but she also builds extended arguments with her usual, unusual blend of lyricism and scepticism, and in the end, we have a picture of America that was as missing as it was needed’ Rebecca Solnit
‘In Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino’s thinking surges with a fierce, electric lyricism. Her intelligence is unrelenting and full-blooded, a heart beating inside every critique. She refuses easy morals, false binaries, and redemptive epiphanies, but all that refusal is in the service of something tender, humane, and often achingly beautiful— an exploration of what we long for, how we long for it, and all the stories we tell ourselves along the way’ Leslie Jamison
‘Whenever something freaky happens in the socio-cultural sphere, I immediately wonder what Jia Tolentino will have to say about it. Modern American life, especially as lived online, increasingly takes on qualities of insanity, even nightmare, and Trick Mirror has something profound to say about how that happened’ John Jeremiah Sullivan