Harvard Book Store welcomes NAOMI KLEIN—award-winning journalist, columnist, and author—for a discussion of her new book Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World.
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 sufficiently similar to her own that many people got confused about who was who. Soon enough, she began to see her double as part of a larger story: AI-generated text is blurring the line between genuine and spurious communication; New Age wellness entrepreneurs turned anti-vaxxers are scrambling familiar political allegiances of left and right; and liberal democracies are teetering on the edge of absurdist authoritarianism. Is there a cure for our moment of collective vertigo?
In Doppelganger, Klein turns her gaze inward to our psychic landscapes, and outward to the possibilities for building hope amid intersecting economic, medical, and political crises. Combining comic memoir with cobweb-clearing analysis, this book charts a path beyond the despair of the “mirror world” we inhabit today. Doppelganger is a revelatory treatment of the way many of us have come to think and feel—and an intellectual adventure story for our times.