kissing Bowie
by Joan Taylor

kissing Bowie by Joan Taylor

Cover design by Negative Negative
Cover photographs:
David Bowie (Ekeberghallen, Oslo, Norway, 1978) by Helge Øverås
Kissing girl by Dave Morris

I am permanently disconcerted, suddenly shocked at how a shop has turned into a café, or a house has gone. I look through the windows of brand new buildings into a motley past of old brick and iron. Red buses, black cabs, underground stations: yes, they remain, but they are all shiny now. People are better dressed, and there is so much more diversity of ethnicity, language and food. I walk through this city as someone who has awoken from a coma, gazing about amazed. I round a corner and out jumps a memory: a snatch of conversation, a laugh.
I said I would never return here. There are reasons. I say I like my comfortable apartment in Melbourne, with its view over the Yarra River, where I can work and think. I am described as ‘fiercely private’ by interviewers. I am not a good traveller, but I do it for art. New York, fine. I can handle New York, just, for short stays, despite everything. But London—never. At the centre of the place is a gigantic hole. I could never look at it again.

Kissing Bowie is a psychological mystery novel, mostly set in London in 1980 but also in the present day. When Melbourne photographer Samantha Newell returns to London and confronts a guilty past, she begins to write a confession. She recounts the story of her Bowie-obsessed friend Laura, a long-lost love, cryptic notes and a mystery from the year 1980. As she tells of Laura’s strange world of fantasy, reality and fear, can she face what she bitterly regrets?

In this follow-up to her critically-acclaimed novel Conversations with Mr. Prain, Joan Taylor brings to life the gritty reality of a recent past and asks tough questions about the media and celebrity, then and now. With a plot that twists and shocks, this novel is an intense and personal journey with a punky anti-heroine and a window to the days when David Bowie ruled as revered youth icon.

Withdrawn July 2018

Praise for kissing Bowie

4 of 5 stars...This is a well written story that takes the reader into minds of the characters. The novel examines the depths of friendship and all that comes with it. I found the book to be engrossing and interesting.
—SAMANTHA100 LibraryThing Early Reviewer

4 of 5 starsIn the style of a memoir, kissing Bowie is a tale through the recorded memories of internationally famous New Zealand photographer Samantha Newel...The musical references were all familiar, and my own recollections of the time fit well with this story...The ending makes perfect sense, and is yet unexpected.
—JeffV LibraryThing Early Reviewer

4 of 5 starsThis was an unexpectedly enjoyable read! A very intriguing story with an unexpected outcome right at the end. And if you have ever visited London, you will love the evocative descriptions of that amazing city. Explores some pretty deep issues around identity, mental health, friendship. Throughout the whole book there was a sense of something not quite right and the way the author unfolds the events was excellent.
—spbooks LibraryThing Early Reviewer

4 of 5 stars...An excellently written and interesting book with reference to the major events - like the death of Lennon and Maggie Thatcher taking on the unions - as well as the minor ones such as the first appearance of a certain 19-year-old blonde called Lady Diana Spenser in the royal circle, Kissing Bowie is a poignant and satisfying read...Played against the background of the early eighties, that much maligned decade which seemed so event-filled at the time but in retrospect just seems full of itself, the story is told by a 2013 Sam, now a world-famous photographic artist. She achieved renown but lost Laura, Stuart and anything resembling personal or emotional fulfilment along the way: returning to London for a retrospective exhibition after a 33 year absence, she begins to think about a past she has resolutely ignored, and to reconsider her role in the minor tragedy of long ago.
—adpaton LibraryThing Early Reviewer

4 of 5 starsThis is the story of two girls who arrive in London in the 1980’s...The descriptions of the city were quite good and interesting. I have not been to London, but many of them have made me look at this locale as my next big destination. The story delves into the meaning of friendship, emotional/mental health issues and self-identity. I found the way the author dealt with these issues quite good and realistic. This is a book for a reader looking for something deeper, with more intensity than the average chick lit novel.
—KMT01 LibraryThing Early Reviewer

4 of 5 starsI found this story interesting...the characters in the story were interesting (I particularly loved the gay male roomates!) and the storyline was unpredictable, which made the unravelling of the plot enjoyable. In all, a fun read and one I would recommend to those interested in British pop culture in the 80's.
—voracious LibraryThing Early Reviewer

3 of 5 starskissing Bowie is a strong effort with a unique structure and pacing...An abrupt but fitting ending wraps the book up nicely...The writing is fun...I did enjoy the photograph journal format of the book...there are multiple story arcs and developments...and Taylor does a good job of weaving all of them together...This was an entertaining book that hints at good things to come from Joan Taylor.
—loafhunter13 LibraryThing Early Reviewer

3 of 5 starsKissing Bowie by Joan Taylor was one of those books…you know the kind that as you are reading it you get sent off in six different directions trying to figure out who was doing what and why. But the author was very up front, she gave you enough information to figure out what was going on if you didn’t get distracted like the main character Samantha. And if you remembered how the characters acted in the book you understood the ending...Would I read something else by Joan Taylor? Yes, I would and will.
—lovesdogs LibraryThing Early Reviewer

3 of 5 starsThe memoirs of a famous photographer of 1980 London (England) as 2 girls arrive from New Zealand - one an aspiring photographer, the other a Bowie fanatic. It's their story and the story of the 1980's. I found the book interesting as it was about a time that I lived in London
—Vesper1931 LibraryThing Early Reviewer

3 of 5 starsI enjoyed reading the book as I found it well written with a fairly engrossing storyline...I was compelled to keep reading due to my interest in finding out what happened to Samantha's friend, Laura.
—iris3039 LibraryThing Early Reviewer

3 of 5 starsI enjoyed this story as the story line kept coming up with little surprises...
—Shoosty LibraryThing Early Reviewer

Her use of language and first person cynicism is great fun. This story has narrative drive.
—jaelquinn LibraryThing Early Reviewer