OR Books, 23 . 2014 . - : 192

"A magnificent and deceptively slim book, in which no essay takes longer to read than it would take to listen to a David Bowie song, but in which there is a cumulative sense of revelation as regards what makes Bowie special, and why it is that his work seems to yield more, the more time you spend there. The book is delightful, highly readable, with bits of Nietzsche, Ruskin, Roland Barthes and Deleuze rising up like wisps of cloud in its funny, moving and passionate field of inquiry." Rick Moody,Salon

"A valuable little book, sizzling with original perceptions conveyed in clear, accessible language, unencumbered by university jargon." The Irish Times

"Simon Critchley is a figure of quite startling brilliance, and I can never begin to guess what he'll do next, only that it is sure to sustain and nourish my appetite for his voice. His overall project may be that of returning philosophical inquiry, and 'theory,' to a home in literature, yet without surrendering any of its incisive power, or ethical urgency." Jonathan Lethem

"A truly inspiring voice " PopMatters

"The most powerful and provocative philosopher now writing " Cornel West

"Critchley lovingly unearths profoundly deep cuts from every Bowie era in a short sharp book worthy of its subject. Miraculously doubles up as an introduction to philosophy."Gruff Rhys, member of Super Furry Animals

Simon Critchley first encountered David Bowie in the early seventies, when the singer appeared on Britains most-watched music show,Top of the Pops. His performance of Starman mesmerized Critchley: it was so sexual, so knowing, so strange. Two days later Critchleys mum bought a copy of the single; she liked both the song and the performers bright orange hair (she had previously been a hairdresser). The seed of a lifelong love affair was thus planted in the mind of her son, aged 12.

In this concise and engaging excursion through the songs of one of the worlds greatest pop stars, Critchley, whose writings on philosophy have garnered widespread praise, melds personal narratives of how Bowie lit up his dull life in southern Englands suburbs with philosophical forays into the way concepts of authenticity and identity are turned inside out in Bowies work. The result is nearly as provocative and mind-expanding as the artist it portrays.

With illustrations by Eric Hanson.




Simon Critchleyis Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York. His previous books includeOn Humour,The Book of Dead Philosophers,How to Stop Living and Start Worrying,Impossible Objects,The Mattering of Matter(with Tom McCarthy),The Faith of the Faithless, andStay, Illusion!: The Hamlet Doctrine(with Jamieson Webster). An experimental new work,Memory Theatre, is forthcoming. He is series moderator of The Stone, a philosophy column inThe New York Times, to which he is a frequent contributor.