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Trick Mirror

Reflections on Self-Delusion
Narrated by: Jia Tolentino
Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (542 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

"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)

Named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by the New York Public Library and one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book ReviewTime The Washington PostEsquire Elle Glamour Good HousekeepingThe Dallas Morning NewsBookPage

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 listener with profound honesty, Trick Mirror is an instant classic of the worst decade yet.

Praise for Trick Mirror:

"Jia Tolentino is the best young essayist at work in the United States, one I’ve consistently admired and learned from, and I was exhilarated to get a whole lot of her at once in Trick Mirror. In these nine essays, 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 skepticism. In the end, we have a picture of America that was as missing as it was needed." (Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me)

©2019 Jia Tolentino (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Jia Tolentino narrates her own collection of essays with precision, clarity, and urgency.... Listeners receive an intense onslaught of sophisticated diction and syntax, but, thankfully, Tolentino uses vocal intonation to make her words accessible in the audiobook format.... Listeners will feel that Tolentino is talking directly to them, making her arguments even more compelling." (AudioFile magazine)

“It's easy to write about things as you wish they were - or as others tell you they must be. It's much harder to think for yourself, with the minimum of self-delusion. It's even harder to achieve at a moment like this, when our thoughts are subject to unprecedented manipulation, monetization, and surveillance. Yet Tolentino has managed to tell many inconvenient truths in Trick Mirror - and in enviable style. 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) 

“I worship at the altar of Jia Tolentino, who is undoubtedly the sharpest and most incisive cultural critic alive. Jia is a for-real genius, so damn funny it's absurd, and her ability to cut through all the noise to reveal the heart of the matter is unmatched. What a gift to the universe that, in Trick Mirror, one of the subjects is herself.  This book is a master class in how to think about the world in 2019.” (Samantha Irby, author of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life

“In Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino’s thinking surges with a fierce, electric lyricism. Her mind is animated by rigor and compassion at once. She’s horrified by the world and also in love with it. Her truths are knotty but her voice is crystalline enough to handle them. She’s always got skin in the game; she knows we all do. 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, author of The Recovering

Editor's Pick

Make sense of the chaos
"I’ve never really been okay with my addiction to the internet. It’s something I’m constantly at odds with, but like a '90s cartoon character stuck in a pit of quicksand, only seem to sink further into the harder I try to escape. Jia Tolentino’s essays on self-delusion struck me immediately as a possible salve to my digitally swollen daily existence. I knew nothing about Tolentino or her prolific career at Hairpin, Jezebel, and The New Yorker beforehand, and I didn’t need to. I’ve never heard someone with such a keen understanding of digital culture in all of its wondrous, disheartening perversity. She pinpoints the exact issues at the heart of every multifaceted topic she approaches, and deftly lends compassion and a neutral journalistic perspective to even the most outrageous memories. She’s a damn good nonfiction narrator too. I just wish she were always around to make sense of the chaos."
Michael D., Audible Editor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Couldn’t stop listening

I sense that IRL Ms. Tolentino & I would disagree about many cultural and political issues...but I deeply valued and respected her opinions and sharp intellect. This was a fascinating book that I listened to in two days following which I purchased a hard copy. I love a read that helps me appreciate alternative perspectives without feeling toxic or critical or making me want to punch the person in the uvula. She is a wizard at accomplishing this.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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jia does her homework!

if you are looking for some insight into a millennials mind, here it is! strap yourself in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Smart, deeply introspective

Tolentino is definitely smart, introspective and able to critique even herself. I enjoyed most of her essays, thought that some ideas were overdone or over-dramatic, but I can appreciate her intense syntax and deft ability to hold the mirror to herself, which in turn provides us, the reader moments to ponder- "am I that way too??"

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Expansive perspective and poignantly relevant.

Her take on society and subjects covered is incredibly thorough, vulnerable and relevant and the complexity that we face together as a collective, and all woven together in a deliciously complex poeticism.

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This book made me saner

This book provided me with the deep satisfaction of a clear and thorough explanation of the bewildering times we are living through. With honesty, precision and humor, Tolentino unpacks the ways that social media, fitness culture, etc, intercept the human desire to learn and understand and to self-improve, and channel these projects back toward accelerated capitalism. I feel saner having read it, knowing someone so deftly named the problem. I humbly request access to Jia Tolentino’s thoughts on everything that ever happens, please.

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PD

As someone who was born in ‘96 in Texas, and is struggling with the tradition of relationship/wedding practices that overshadow the concept of committing to a long-term partner, the final section was enough to be worth the entire purchase for me. G puts into words what I’ve struggled with since exiting college, and appreciate the transparency she provides with context for her opinions.

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An overview of contradictions/hypocrisies of life in the 2010s

The performance is conversational. The content is an admirable mix of self-reflection and research of societal trends that regard the evolution of institutions (i.e. weddings, the social Internet). In many cases it’s right at the moment when you feel like the narrative is becoming too self-referential that it switches to historical research, and vice versa.

The chapter “Reality TV Me” works better in the audio recording than the print version; each episode is identified in the audio distinctly. Three chapters “The I In the Internet,” “The Story of a Generation In Seven Scams,” and “I Thee Dread” are worth the price of admission alone (honorable mention to “The Cult of the Difficult Woman”).

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Down to earth and eye opening

Great read for the modern day woman. The author dives into self and societal conditioned behavior that forms our warped sense of reality and expectations (supported with historical references). Highly recommend!

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  • MH
  • 09-23-19

well written, sharp analysis of our times.

jia goes deep and prompts you challenge your own pov on how we live today. makes you think and reflect.

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engaging

Comfortable enough that I think "I could write like that."

Erudite enough that I know I can never write like that.

I enjoyed it enough to purchase a written copy as well.