cover image M Train

M Train

Patti Smith, read by the author. Random House Audio, , unabridged, 6 CDs, 6.5 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-1-101-92300-9

This essay collection creates a map of National Book Award–winner Smith’s peripatetic journeys to cafes, cemeteries, hotels, and train stations around the world. In 19 imagistic reflections, Smith invites readers to travel with her from Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul and Sylvia Plath’s grave to the Far Rockaway bungalow that Smith buys just before Hurricane Sandy comes ashore and destroys much of the surrounding territory. She ambles across space, time, and even reality as she weaves meaningful moments, emotional experiences such as the loss of her husband, and even the smaller moments her in life. In the audio edition, Smith’s vocal delivery proves as compelling as her writing. Her prose takes on the rhythm of poetry with shifts in cadence and long pauses. Underlining her delivery is a tension that feels akin to a sneer or sidelong look; it’s as if she is confronting or daring the listener to take this journey with her more so than inviting. This method is seductive, and listeners will have a hard time stepping away from her idiosyncratic narration. A Knopf hardcover. (Nov.)