Smith latest memoir surrealistically drifts between dreams, coffee shops, and travels to travels to Europe, Mexico, and Japan, making pilgrimages to the graves of Jean Genet, Sylvia Plath, Arthur Rimbaud, and Yukio Mishima, and to meeting of the Continental Drift Club honoring the memory of arctic explorer Alfred Wegener. Along the way she records her thoughts and impressions on grief and hope, detective shows on television, coffee and cafés, Frida Kahlo, Haruki Murakami, Mikhail Bulgakov, books and reading, television detective shows, art, her homes and hunts, Hurricane Sandy and its impact on Far Rockaway. The title comes from her vision coming after a visit to the home of Kahalo and Diego Rivera and a shot of tequila. "The tequila was light, like flower juice. I closed my eyes and saw a green train with an M in a circle; a faded green like the back of a praying mantis." For me it was the image of a train of memories and the memoir as striking as Charles Demuth's painting "I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold," itself based on William Carlos Williams's poem "The Great Figure." A work of imaginative writing reflecting on the world around the author which she turns into art and all encompassing; it contains her world awaking and dreaming, full of other people and their productions: art, coffee, conversation, science, and memories.
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From the National Book Award–winning author of Just Kids: an unforgettable odyssey of a legendary artist, told through the prism of the cafés and haunts she has worked in around the world. It is a book Patti Smith has described as “a roadmap to my life.”
M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer’s society in Berlin; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York’s Far Rockaway that Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima.
Woven throughout are reflections on the writer’s craft and on artistic creation. Here, too, are singular memories of Smith’s life in Michigan and the irremediable loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith.
Braiding despair with hope and consolation, illustrated with her signature Polaroids, M Train is a meditation on travel, detective shows, literature, and coffee. It is a powerful, deeply moving book by one of the most remarkable multiplatform artists at work today.
Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
5.93 x 5.08 x 1.15 Inches
Smith latest memoir su...
I was extremely fortun...
I was extremely fortunate to have heard Ms. Smith read from this book in Santa Cruz. I hadn't read the book before attending, and laughed and cried as she read her stories. I will forever think of her in her café, upset that someone is sitting at "her" table. Priceless. She has a wonderful gift of telling a story in an intimate and cherished way. The only thing better than hearing her read from her book, was listening to her sing some of her songs, as illness prevented her from signing copies of her book. I adore her.
This is not your regul...
This is not your regular memoir. It is comprised of a meandering collection of dreams, stories, memories both mundane and divine. But somehow after reading it I feel that I have been invited into the private and unique world of Patti Smith. It's quite a privilege! Nothing is resolved but much is revealed. The writing ranges from the straight forward to the poetically intense and a gentle sadness permeates every mention of Fred's name. A must read for admirers of this wonderful writer.
I loved Just Kids an...
I loved "Just Kids" and didn't know what to expect with this newest but was intrigued by the title and eager to read it. Every minute reading it was transformative - she drops in on her memories and looks at them with her enormous human heart and mind fully engaged and probing. I felt like she shared her soul - whatever that is, but in her case it's fascinating, reflective, thoughtful, and brilliant - and gave us her most profound and deeply honest self. I guess the short way to try to describe this reading experience is to say I felt like I was walking around inside her head and it was a darn interesting place to be. The biggest aha! moment for me was grasping her masterful perspective on time - memory, present, and the way we move through our public and private lives, connected to our past and still fully present in the moment. While she bares her soul, shows us her heart, and lets us into her space for a while, she expresses her sadness and loss eloquently, but never for one second does she feel sorry for herself or indulge in whining or self-deception. This is someone so aware of herself, so brilliant, interesting, and highly evolved, that she has much to tell us and I can't wait for the next one - I hope there's lots more from this genius and important artist. This was a remarkable reading experience!
Well, I squeezed a las...
Well, I squeezed a last book in for the year. It was one of those that I couldn't stop reading, so in less than two days, it was done. Coincidentally, I finished it on Patti Smith's birthday, which is today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTI SMITH! (my gift to you is to rave about your book) All my books this month have been introspective (The Outsider by Colin Wilson, A Field Guide to Melancholy by Jacky Bowring and The Snow Geese by William Fiennes) and this one tied all that existentialism and self exploration together with art (ie music, poetry, literature, photography). Patti Smith appears to have an exceedingly rich inner life, and it made me think about all the thoughts that I have that I just let go. What might happen if I held on to them and captured them? Could I make more of them by just doing that? And what about if I wrote them down, and agonised over getting the perfect wording for them like she is able to? (Scary thought.) But the reminder to pay more attention to my thoughts about details will stick with me. I got a lot of comfort knowing that other people think so deeply about things, and that not only is this ok, but that it is what makes people who they are. Also, being pensive isn't always a bad thing. I think of it as a by-product of being a thinker. This book may turn people off because of its wanderings from the past to the present to the dreamscapes of the author's mind, but I got on the treadmill and let it take me wherever it went. And it went to very cool places, so please read it.
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