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Jia Tolentino Talks to Samantha Irby About ‘Trick Mirror’

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“I am sometimes motivated by the sense that a topic is everywhere but that something is missing,” Tolentino says. “I think I write a lot about things that are very obvious but under-articulated.”

Jia Tolentino is a genius. I know “genius” is an overused descriptor, especially when trotted out by non-geniuses such as I, whose opinions maybe don’t count as much as those from people who actually finished their courses at community college—or, for Tolentino, at the University of Virginia—but in her case it is totally warranted. I’ve been reading her work from the jump, since the days of breathlessly waiting for her byline to pop up on Jezebel or The Hairpin because I knew whatever she’d written was going to be dope.

In her new book, Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, the New Yorker staff writer offers us a collection of nine longform essays covering culture, technology, and politics. These pieces are smart and deeply unsettling but also funny—the best trifecta one could ask for. I am in awe of the skill with which she dissects a subject and then puts it back together in a way we’d never seen it before. Pacific Standard sent me to fangirl over Tolentino, to ask her my burning questions about her writing and editing processes, and to ponder why scams and scammers are so damn captivating.

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Thanks !

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