Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World Notes from Underground and the Double Operation Shylock: A Confession A Wizard of Earthsea
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror Kindred: The ground-breaking masterpiece The Double: (Enemy) The Picture of Dorian Gray
August Blue Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World Notes from Underground and the Double Operation Shylock: A Confession
A Wizard of Earthsea The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror Kindred: The ground-breaking masterpiece The Double: (Enemy)

Naomi Klein: 8 Books on doubles that inspired Doppelganger

By Penguin

Naomi Klein: 8 Books on doubles that inspired Doppelganger

By Penguin

'In researching my new book, I read a stack of novels and short stories that explore the chaos and meaning of doppelgangers. So often, the double represents the precarity of our personal selves and public personas - and the shadow of the selves we cannot bear to look at directly. Here are a few of the books that helped orient me through our world of doubles…'

Doppelganger is our June Book of the Month. Use code DOUBLE10 for an extra 10% off the book this month.
 

Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World

Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World

Naomi Klein

£10.99 £10.44

Notes from Underground and the Double

Notes from Underground and the Double

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

£9.99 £9.49

In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Double, a low-level bureaucrat, Golyadkin, walks through a snowstorm and encounters a man who looks just like him. In one scene, as the double chases the bureaucrat, Dostoevsky writes, “there was nowhere to escape from these duplicates… so that at last a terrible multitude of duplicates had sprung into being”. (And he had no clue AI was coming…).

Operation Shylock: A Confession

Operation Shylock: A Confession

Philip Roth

£10.99 £10.44

Oh, Philip Roth, problematic king of doppelgangers. In my youth, I vowed never to read another book by Roth ever again. But this writing project brought me back, via Shylock. At one point, the “real” Philip Roth writes of a duplicate Roth: “it’s too ridiculous to take seriously and too serious to be ridiculous.” For obvious reasons, this became my mantra while writing Doppelganger.

A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea

Ursula Le Guin

£7.99 £7.59

In Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged has a shadow, an evil “nameless one” who attempts to steal his form. Only by finding out its true name, can the wizard destroy his double. “Magic consists in this,” Le Guin writes, “the true naming of a thing.” She left so much genius behind.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror

Robert Louis Stevenson

£6.99 £6.64

Robert Louis Stevenson’s landmark The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde introduces the double as the most repressed, depraved and rejected parts of ourselves that we cannot bear to see – the evil twin, the shadow self, the anti-self. Stevenson’s doppelganger is a form of torment, perhaps n allegory for the altered self that is unleashed by addiction.

Kindred: The ground-breaking masterpiece

Kindred: The ground-breaking masterpiece

Octavia E. Butler

£9.99 £9.49

In Octavia Butler’s brilliant Kindred, protagonist Dana time travels between her life in 1976 with her white husband Kevin and the horrors of enslavement in the Antebellum South. The doubling in this book stems from Dana’s position as a Black woman in two different time periods, exploring how the legacies of chattel slavery live on. Unlike other pieces where the double is kept on the psychological plane, Butler’s doubles are deeply embodied, physical manifestations.

The Double: (Enemy)

The Double: (Enemy)

Jose Saramago

£9.99 £9.49

Nobel prize winner José Saramago’s The Double includes this epigraph: “chaos is merely order waiting to be deciphered.” This was another North Star for my attempts to make sense of the wildness of now, rife with various forms of doubling and mimicry, including fascism as the collective shadow-double of liberal democracies.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

£7.99 £7.59

Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the story of a vain and lustful man who, after having his portrait painted, makes a demonic deal to stay young and beautiful forever. As Gray holds on to his youth, the face in the painting grows older, uglier and more depraved, a kind of virtual doppelganger. When Gray tries to destroy his gruesome double, he is the one who ends up shriveled and lifeless. A preview of Tiktok’s Bold Glamour filter, perhaps?

August Blue

August Blue

Deborah Levy

£9.99 £9.49

Deborah Levy’s August Blue. This one came out after I had gone to press with Doppelganger, but it’s an elegant delight, one that goes deep into why the figure of the double both attracts and repels us.

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