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Memory Theater by Simon Critchley
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Memory Theater by Simon Critchley
Hardcover $15.95
Nov 17, 2015 | ISBN 9781590517406

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  • Nov 17, 2015 | ISBN 9781590517406

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Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2015 
Library Journal Best Fall Debut Novel 2015

“Critchley’s writing is uncommonly vital. He has a keen appreciation of literature and pop culture, and his analysis can skip nimbly from Heidegger to Wallace Stevens to Johnny Rotten…Charming…a brilliant parable.” —The Wall Street Journal

“This strange, mesmerizing novel is hard to shake, evoking lucidity, mortality, and weirdness in equally memorable measures.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Utterly readable, swiftly entertaining, and at moments blackly funny, though overall there’s great poignancy in the character’s cock-eyed determination to reach his goal; not a standard narrative but within any reader’s reach.” —Library Journal

“A winding dive into the nature of memory—the powers we ascribe to it, and the devices we use to bulwark it . . . fascinating . . . well worth the afternoon it’ll take to read—and the lingering questions it’ll leave with you long afterward.” —Colin Dwyer, NPR

“Critchley’s prose is charming, funny, and clear; his voice is strong and honest…Memory Theater is entirely readable, even for someone who is new to the philosophers, poets, and poet-philosophers Critchley invokes…[R]efreshing…Memory Theater offers an author’s idiosyncratic version of the truth.” —Bookforum

“Profoundly intriguing . . .  a gripping tale . . . a fascinating mystery . . .  It’s light on pages and extremely heavy on content. Critchley has carefully chosen each and every word, crafting one of the most compelling stories I’ve ever experienced.”The News-Gazette

“[O]riginal, observant, and unexpectedly moving…The novel is short enough to be absorbed in a single sitting, but the questions posed by author/character Simon regarding the full ramifications of the soul’s saturation in history will linger indefinitely.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Tacks from abstract meditations on memory and thought to surreal, hilarious anecdotes involving Critchley’s bizarre life. Sample confession: ‘I couldn’t think of anything apart from death and the vague prospect of breakfast cereal.’” —Slate

“Cleverly and admirably lays bare the fact that our memories are being gentrified.”—Flavorwire

“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. . . . I read Memory Theater and loved it.”  —Jonathan Lethem, author of Dissident Gardens

Memory Theater is a brilliant one-of-a-kind mind game occupying a strange frontier between philosophy, memoir, and fiction. Simon Critchley beguiles as he illuminates.” —David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas

“Novella or essay, science fiction or memoir? Who cares. Chris Marker, Adolfo Bioy Casares, and Frances Yates would all have been proud to have written Memory Theater.” —Tom McCarthy, author of C

“Remarkable…suffused with an enthusiasm for its subject, and a humor that carries the text lightly along as Critchley’s frantic prose descends toward its conclusion.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

“[Critchley’s] fiction debut is rich, profound, and very funny.” —The Guardian

“Teasing, economical, ingenious” —Times Literary Supplement

“A strange, affecting and stimulating book that’s both a philosophical history and a personal memoir. Sifting through the archives of a dead friend, Critchley takes a fascinating journey through the philosophy and history of memory, and the technologies of remembering dreamed up by thinkers since classical times.” —Hari Kunzru, author of Gods Without Men 

“With a sense of mischief combined with surprising reverie, Simon Critchley has braided together ideas about memory from the past with the latest thinking about unreliable narrative, altered states and the mysteries of consciousness. Memory Theater is a tantalizing, textual Moebius strip–philosophy, autobiography, and fiction twisted together.” —Marina Warner, author of Stranger Magic

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