In The Body Double, a downtrodden young man wakes one morning to find a mysterious twin living with him. Normally the presence of a doppelgänger would turn anyone’s world upside down, but in this case the two quickly settle into a routine. Together they work a thankless job, hang out, paint, go to the fair, mow lawns, fight over the blanket, upset their girlfriend, and basically continue living the same rather uneventful life the original has been living. But as the double becomes increasingly self-aware, and increasingly headstrong, more differences arise, and tensions between original and copy quickly escalate.
Publisher: Brooklyn Arts Press (September 15, 2012)
When we look closely at the ‘I’, we always seem to see a stranger, and so the doppelganger is a perennial figure of dream. The shadow self follows us, looks back sometimes from the face of a person across from us at the intersection, and sometimes seems to speak out of our mouths before we know what’s happening. Harel’s witty and inventive poem employs a wide register of forms from the sonnet to the legal contract to investigate the inexhaustible power of Rimbaud’s dictum: Je est un autre. — MARK DOTY
With mischievous appreciation for the human dilemma, The Body Double charts the adventures of a rebellious, canny self within the self, and in doing so offers an imaginative perspective on both the classic doppelganger and the contemporary fascination with identity. These charming ontological poems suggest our myopia and powerlessness in the face of our own fears and delusions. They offer a wild exploration of proximity: estranged identities we wish we could suppress, the neighboring self we pity or blame. The wily id morphs into a sweeter version of the evil twin a double-tasking double-dealer who gradually subsumes the hapless narrator. By means of such subtle doubling, Jared Harel entertains and surprises as he encounters and enlivens one of the great literary motifs. — ALICE FULTON
The Body Double is an impressive achievement of imagination and wordplay. With this, his first collection, Harel enters the American literary scene already accomplished. An estimable debut. — BJ WARD
“Jared Harel’s poetry is spare, beautiful, and evocative. He represents a unique voice in his generation.”
— LIZ ROSENBERG