A Memoir

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:

From one of the most interesting and iconic musicians of our time, a piercingly tender, funny, and harrowing account of the path from suburban poverty and alienation to a life of beauty, squalor and unlikely success out of the NYC club scene of the late '80s and '90s.

There were many reasons Moby was never going to make it as a DJ and musician in the New York club scene. This was the New York of Palladium; of Mars, Limelight, and Twilo; of unchecked, drug-fueled hedonism in pumping clubs where dance music was still largely underground, popular chiefly among working-class African Americans and Latinos. And then there was Moby--not just a poor, skinny white kid from Connecticut, but a devout Christian, a vegan, and a teetotaler. He would learn what it was to be spat on, to live on almost nothing. But it was perhaps the last good time for an artist to live on nothing in New York City: the age of AIDS and crack but also of a defiantly festive cultural underworld. Not without drama, he found his way. But success was not uncomplicated; it led to wretched, if in hindsight sometimes hilarious, excess and proved all too fleeting. And so by the end of the decade, Moby contemplated an end in his career and elsewhere in his life, and put that emotion into what he assumed would be his swan song, his good-bye to all that, the album that would in fact be the beginning of an astonishing new phase: the multimillion-selling Play .

At once bighearted and remorseless in its excavation of a lost world, Porcelain is both a chronicle of a city and a time and a deeply intimate exploration of finding one's place during the most gloriously anxious period in life, when you're on your own, betting on yourself, but have no idea how the story ends, and so you live with the honest dread that you're one false step from being thrown out on your face. Moby's voice resonates with honesty, wit, and, above all, an unshakable passion for his music that steered him through some very rough seas.

Porcelain is about making it, losing it, loving it, and hating it. It's about finding your people, your place, thinking you've lost them both, and then, somehow, when you think it's over, from a place of well-earned despair, creating a masterpiece. As a portrait of the young artist, Porcelain is a masterpiece in its own right, fit for the short shelf of musicians' memoirs that capture not just a scene but an age, and something timeless about the human condition. Push play.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, c2016
ISBN: 9781594206429
Branch Call Number: BIO MOBY Moby
Characteristics: 406 pages, [24 unnumbered pages of plates] : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Aug 07, 2018

On hoopla, this is in his native German.

StaffPickles Jan 24, 2017

Kim’s Pick: This one’s for Moby fans – like I was in my youth. It is a tome of a book only really covering a decade of his life, starting as an emerging musician. At times there’s a little bit too much information, even for a fan of this dance music icon and animal rights activist (want to know what Moby ate for breakfast or who he got it on with?) He has amazing recall, including verbatim dialogue, and transports the reader to the New York music scene and vibe of the 90sthat he showcases .. along with his dichotomous life between wholesomeness and debauchery as he struggles with himself. Here, he posits himself as a “love me warts and all” character. And this book is only Part 1, before he went big with Play!

Dec 06, 2016

Moby is an excellent writer, and reading this book while listening to his music creates a special kind of magic. His memoir is self-deprecating, honest, frequently hilarious, neurotic, insecure and completely fascinating. Highly recommended.

Sep 05, 2016

Moby's style of book writing is just like his music. Just a bunch of samples from different periods in his life.. not really a narrative.. doesn't reveal much, really...and the drinking and sex talk was tiresome.

Sep 04, 2016

I loved this book. Moby's descriptive style and honesty are a pleasure to read - always entertaining although some of his stories made me uncomfortable.

Aug 08, 2016

A memoir of Moby's struggle to establish himself in the music world.
Personal and filled with what many would say is TMI, I found it well written, filled with humor and insight. The insight is into his personal life and not really concentrated on his art.
I look forward to volume 2 and his path to stardom and hopefully some details on his creative process and inspiration.

Jul 01, 2016

While the end of the book flags a bit (not sure how many drunk Moby stories I really need to read), the vast majority of the book is a fascinating look at a New York -- and a music scene -- that no longer exists. Moby is unflinching in describing his faults, his fascinations, and his insecurities. If you are hoping PORCELAIN will tell you more about how Moby makes his music, you'll be disappointed; if you want to know the answer to why for a sliver of time in his life, you'll very much enjoy.


Add Age Suitability

Dec 06, 2016

daysleeper236 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at PLYMC

To Top