The book is a meditation on Van Gogh’s painting Boots and Laces, and a reflection on the engagement of twentieth century thinkers with that work – principally Heidegger, Meyer Schapiro, and Derrida. This Shoe Story begins with descriptions of the painter’s life and struggle, and his part in the invention of what Chamberlain calls “the new materiality.” The new materiality is “a new version of art being about objects over which life has passed;” “a dimension of the existence of things in being that we had not seen before” Four chapters deal with “the Heidegger revolution:” essentially the disclosure that “We’re all, as truth-seekers, and workers, just in motion, en route, to nowhere in particular, except our own deaths.” From this “A new way to live, and to live with art, would build on a firm grasp of immediate experience, albeit with the question of meaning left open;” “Things suddenly steal up on us and illuminate what we tend to forget bout our being-here. Art, when it goes to work, is that stealing up and that illumination.” Chamberlain senses Darwin as a grey eminence behind the Shoe Story, “changing art because he changed Creation;” “Among the reasons why a West founded on high art began to unravel, a salient one was the Darwinism that had turned a once mappable Creation, to be praised and emulated by artists of genius, into a vast space of darkness punctuated by events of mortality.” The reader senses Darwin here also in the very manner of organic change which he explained. In the end what we want Heidegger for, writes Chamberlain, is “for new variations on an old desire to hold on to solitude and private experience, and possibly mystical enlightenment.” Derrida’s writing, she notes, is full of “incidental beauty, as he twists used-up words into new installations.” So Darwin: “The regular course of events seems to be, that a part which originally served for one purpose, becomes adapted by slow changes for widely different purposes. . . . On the same principle, if a man were to make a machine for some special purpose, but were to use old wheels, springs, and pulleys, only slightly altered, the whole machine, with all its parts, might be said to be specially contrived for its present purpose.” (The ‘Orchid Book’) The new materiality seems to be just this: a new version of art wrought by many hands from bits and pieces of the former world. This book would make a sound introduction to Heidegger’s thought for artists and students of art and art history.