Reviews for Doppelganger

by Naomi Klein

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Klein’s sociopolitical commentary takes a personal turn when she realizes she is being conflated with Naomi Wolf. While Wolf went from outspoken feminist to a regular on Steve Bannon’s War Room, Klein has held her place on the democratic socialist, environmentally concerned left, which fights for “social policies that are inclusive and caring.” Attempting to untangle the knot between seriousness and ridiculousness that defines both doppelgängers and conspiracy theories, Klein dives deep into the work of cultural figures such as Sigmund Freud, Philip Roth, and bell hooks, and she explores the many distortions and doubles we do battle with, from our bodies to our children to our online engagement. Simultaneously, she immerses herself in the narratives of the “the other side” espoused by Wolf. Klein’s prose is tight and urgent, almost breathless, evoking both laughter and dismay and entrancingly matching the mounting frenzy of seeing your public self morph into someone else—or of watching conspiracy theories take hold, particularly in the destabilizing context of the pandemic. Braiding cultural criticism with a charitable attempt to humanize the “Other Naomi,” Klein excavates legitimacy beneath sensational fears and exposes the failures of both sides of so many of the world’s binaries. Some issues, such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, fit less snugly into her doppelgänger theme than others, and the second half of the book is sometimes overstretched and repetitive. Still, the author’s comprehensive and nuanced treatments of these issues are valuable and compelling in their own rights, and she shows us how to conduct conversations that resist binary thinking, distill the truths of dividing lines, and create a path to collective action on the pressing issues of our time that embraces the porousness of unnecessary borders. Rather than undermining Klein’s work as a “serious” writer, this book reinforces it, to readers’ benefit. A disarming and addictive call to solidarity. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.