Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion begins: “In the beginning, the Internet seemed good.” And after reading Jia Tolentino’s debut collection of essays, one might wonder if the Bible is indeed in need of a rewrite, to take into account the new reality of living in the age of the Internet. Tolentino’s writing is less about the topics she tackles—social media, Internet scamming, optimization, marriage—than it is about the self as it tries to see and think clearly. A venerable catalog of existence in the age of self-presentation and self-delusion, Trick Mirror is a work of high-paced cultural criticism that’s at its best when it settles into precious moments of stillness.
In the weeks preceding the launch of her book, Tolentino and I talked recently about the taxing pace of optimization, timelessness, humility, the value of the reader, and learning to take oneself seriously.
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Kali Fajardo-Anstine is committed to researching and telling the stories of her people and place. Her mesmerizing debut story collection, Sabrina & Corina, shines a new light on the American West. Centered on Latinas of Indigenous ancestry, the stories in Sabrina & Corinaexplore friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands.
Fajardo-Anstine and I spoke about finding her place in the white male canon, the state of the short story, rewriting history to reflect lost Indigenous voices, and the importance of the first thing a person can remember. Read the full interview, “Making Space at the Center,” on The Rumpus.
Amanda Petrusich is the author of Do Not Sell At Any Price:The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records. A staff writer for the New Yorker, her writing has appeared many other publications including the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, Pitchfork, SPIN, and The Oxford American, where she was a contributing editor. The album notes she wrote to accompany Bob Dylan’s Trouble No More box set earned her a 2019 Grammy nomination.
Petrusich and I spoke about how mountain writing changed her life, the state of music criticism in the age of democratic listening, what it’s like to work in a male-dominated field, and how she came to celebrate her Grammy nomination with a donut at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Read the full interview, “Totally and Brutally Honest,” on The Rumpus.