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M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village cafe 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 artists at work today.
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of Pages
Home Superb Daily Telegraph A blend of memoir and diary that forms a stroll through her familial and poetical past ... Within Smith's peripatetic, creative life are reassuring moments of ordinariness Radio Times Touching, funny, emotional and highly atmospheric, starting in Cafe 'Ino, in Greenwich Village, it's a travelogue of her life and a ruminating odyssey Big Issue She writes brilliantly, she loves unconditionally, everything is meaningful ... An extraordinary book about creation and what happens in the spaces between making art: the sheer loneliness of it ... She believes absolutely in the power of art. The price she has paid to become a serious artist is hers and no one else's. She is transformed by art as she transforms it. This, she knows, is the real deal. Because she lives it -- Suzanne Moore New Statesman A digressive, dream-like compendium of obsessions and preoccupations: artists, writers, cafes, travel, black coffee and brown bread and, most endearingly, British detective shows Mojo She reflects candidly on the landscapes of her bumpy life ... From Michigan to Mexico, inhabited by her heroes, from poets to Arctic explorers Saga Difficult second memoir syndrome, perhaps: but Smith conquers it in style, delivering reminiscences about writing, reading and married life with Fred "Sonic" Smith -- Ludovic Hunter-Tilney Financial Times For Christmas I've asked for M Train, the new memoir by Patti Smith - she's always been a heroine and her voice is just as original as her prose as in her songs -- Stephanie Merritt Observer