Doppelgängers ran rampart in literature long before the Internet made identity theft a daily occurrence. For the Guardian, Laurence Scott recounts the best books featuring doppelgängers, from Shakespeare to Agatha Christie and Philip Roth to Joanna Kavenna. “There are many ways to steal a face, and not all of them rely on the supernatural,” Scott writes. “The string of murderous misadventures in Patricia Highsmith’s 1950s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley depend on Ripley’s ability to impersonate the privileged Dickie Greenleaf. Here, a lack of technology perpetuates the hoax. In a world before it was possible to verify someone’s identity online, a passing resemblance to Greenleaf’s passport photo and a knack with signatures allow Ripley to draw money from his account and take over the dead man’s life.”
Good versus evil, a hero coming of age, wars, and sibling love — Star Wars is the play William Shakespeare never wrote. Fortunately, Ian Doescher rewrote the tale of the Jedi in iambic pentameter in William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. The best part is the book trailer, which features Shakespearean actors wielding lightsabers.
No one knows quite how to categorize Max Blecher’s Adventures in Immediate Unreality, in part because it has elements of a novel, a memoir and a long poem. The early 20th century Romanian writer chronicled his own slow death and the effect it had on his senses. At The Paris Review Daily, Andrei Codrescu writes about a reissue of the book.
New this week: Salman Rushdie’s much talked about memoir Joseph Anton, T.C. Boyle’s San Miguel, The Life of Objects by Susanna Moore, and Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting prequel Skagboys. Also new this week: Paul Elie’s Reinventing Bach, Sylvie Simmons’s biography I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, and n+1 vet Marco Roth’s memoir The Scientists.