ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



December 2023



Doppelganger by Naomi Klein

Written by , Posted in Politics, Reviews

Four Stars

Best for:
People interested in a novel way of looking at the complexities of modern politics.

In a nutshell:
Author Klein explores the different political realities people inhabit in areas as vast as vaccines and middle east policies.

Worth quoting:
We are told that the way things are is the only way they can be, because every other model has supposedly already been tried, and all have failed. But these ideas about different ways of being and thinking and living did not all fail; rather, many of them fell, crushed by political violence and racial terror. Being crushed is not the same as failing, because what was crushed can be revived, reimagined anew.

Why I chose it:
I’ve heard a lot of people talking about it, and I had some long travel coming up so decided to get the audio book (especially after I heard it was read by the author).

What it left me feeling:

This is a hard book to review. It was fascinating – really interesting. But hard to review, mostly because I think I need to re-read it next year, and read a physical copy.

Naomi Klein is often confused with Naomi Wolfe. They are both white Jewish women, both have the same first name, and for a time, both known for having liberal (or in Klein’s case, lefitst) politics. Wolfe wrote the Beauty Myth, which I recall reading and recall thinking highly of. Klein has written about disaster capitalism, climate catastrophe, and other critical political and cultural topics. But sometimes over the last few years, Wolfe has taken a hard right turn, delving deep into conspiracies – she’s a regular on Steve Bannon’s podcast. And when she offers a hot take, people mistakenly attribute it Klein, who then feels a need to defend herself.

In this book, Klein uses this as a stepping off point to explore how people ostensibly living in the same world have such vastly different experiences of reality. She uses fictional accounts of the concept of the double or doppelganger to illustrate the sections, which shows I think a really complex level of thinking, but one that I had trouble following in the audio version of the book.

The last chapter of the book focuses on the conflict between Israel and Palestine – obviously written before what is going on there now. But it was interesting to read, to get her thoughts as a Jewish woman and a leftist. I think it’s a chapter a lot of people would benefit from reading right now.

As I said, I’m thinking this would be a good one to read again next year, because I know there’s a lot in here that I didn’t absorb as much as I could have. I really should stick to mysteries and memoirs when it comes to audio books.

Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Recommend to a Friend

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