Even before she was hired as a staff writer by the New Yorker, Jia Tolentino had already picked apart terrible pop songs, analyzed the overuse of “bullying” as a catch-all, interviewed a woman who’d had an abortion at 32 weeks, criticized modern feminism’s currency of offense, and scrutinized her own role in helping under-qualified young white daughters of wealthy families get into college. So when Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion was published by Random House last year, the collection of Tolentino's essays didn’t herald the arrival of a talented new writer so much as coronate one already embraced by readers of websites like the Hairpin and Jezebel, where she served as editor.
Trick Mirror reflects Tolentino’s immense gift for writing, with its mix of reporting, perspective, humor, intellect and personality. It's also varied in scope: a personal essay on growing up in a Christian megachurch—only to leave it for the rapture of MDMA and the music of DJ Screw—eventually leads into a probing look at the aftermath of Rolling Stone’s mishandling of a reported rape on the University of Virginia campus. Tolentino understands the internet like few contemporary writers, so it’s apt that her City Arts & Lectures appearance this week has been moved to a livestream. In conversation with Jenna Wortham, expect insight and tact when Tolentino appears Thursday, May 7, at 7:30pm online at City Arts & Lectures’ YouTube channel. Details here.