What a strange, wonderful, horrible thing life is. Which I say from a place of massive privilege. Still, this is how I feel today about the state of everything, including, though not limited to COVID-19, the shooting of Jacob Blake, the deth of Justin Townes Earle, what would have been River Phoenix's 50th birthday, even dropping my son off for his freshman year of college amid all of this. And yet, there is privilege and the idea that as sad and tragic as life may be and as sad and tragic as my life has been at times, I'm not going to be erased. In a way that time has passed if it would have ever been a thing anyway. It seems too late for anyone to replace me or forget about me and for the most part I'm not going to become someone else, forced to live the life I need to live because the things that have come to pass are beyond my control - losing my parents at a young age, adoption, being born as anything but a white male or encountering my doppelgänger. Much remains untold and unforeseen, though I have no control over that. Not that anyone does. Certainly not the protagonist Matt in Matthew Salesses' sad, super mind-fuck of a new novel Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear. It would seem he has very little control over anything and very little say in the matter. That said, I would like to tell you I totally got this book, that I can speak with confidence about what it is about. I know it's about race and identity and how easily and quickly the world is happy to erase these things. I also know that this idea of doppelgängers feels omnipresent right now. From Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear to another recent release, The Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg, and it feels like this speaks to how replaceable we all are. That our stories can disappear just like that, unless we grab hold of them, of everything, fighting nature's inclination to erase anything without a center. This idea of having a center is crucial as well. How well do we know who we are or where we belong in the world and how often do we feel confident about these things? Salesses digs into these ideas, with touches of science fiction and Kafka coursing throughout the story, and I look forward to talking to Salesses on This Podcast Will Change Your Life about what it all means to him and what he wants all of us to know. What I (also) know though is that what Salesses has done here is gripping and horrible and as much about the confusing state of the world as anything I've read recently. Will Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear change your life? Most certainly. Will you know how your life has been changed? The question may be how well do you know yourself?