Year of the Monkey

Patti Smith. Knopf, $24.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-525-65768-2
As she wanders between waking and dreaming in a year filled with the death of a close friend and the political turmoil of the 2016 election, musician and National Book Award–winner Smith (Just Kids) contemplates dreams and reality in this luminous collection of anecdotes and photos. In light of her 70th birthday, Smith writes lyrically on various subjects: she describes Allen Ginsberg’s poetry—which she carries along her travels­—as an “expansive hydrogen bomb, containing all the nuances of his voice.” On the “terrible soap opera called the American election,” she declares that “the bully bellowed. Silence ruled... All hail our American apathy, all hail the twisted wisdom of the Electoral College.” Watching a Belinda Carlisle video, she’s caught up in Carlisle’s infectious beat, and she imagines a “nonviolent hubris spreading across the land.” At one point, Smith learns from a stranger that, in dreams, “equations are solved in an entirely unique way, laundry stiffens in the wind, and our dead mothers appear with their backs turned.” Smith discovers that her most meaningful insights come from her vivid dreams, and she feels a palpable melancholia over having to wake up from them. Smith casts a mesmerizing spell with exquisite prose. Agent: Betsy Lerner: Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/03/2019
Release date: 09/24/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-0-7352-7928-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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