I'm not the type to underline passages, but this book tested my resolve. A poetic, ruminative dream of a book, Year of the Monkey chronicles a difficult year in a mesmerizing and unpredictable way. Everything Smith writes feels like a gift, and this is no exception. Recommended By Tove H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Riveting, elegant, humorous — and illustrated by Smith's signature Polaroids — New York Times bestseller Year of the Monkey is a moving and original work, a touchstone for our turbulent times.
Following a run of new year's concerts at San Francisco's legendary
Fillmore, Patti Smith finds herself tramping the coast of Santa Cruz,
about to embark on a year of solitary wandering. Unfettered by logic or
time, she draws us into her private wonderland, in which she debates
intellectual grifters and spars with the likes of a postmodern Cheshire
Cat. Then, in February 2016, a surreal lunar year begins, bringing
unexpected turns, heightened mischief, and inescapable sorrow. For
Smith — inveterately curious, always exploring, always writing — this
becomes a year of reckoning with the changes in life's gyre: with loss,
aging, and a dramatic shift in the political landscape of America.
Taking us from California to the Arizona desert, from a Kentucky
farm to the hospital room of a valued mentor, Smith melds the western
landscape with her own dreamscape in a haunting, poetic blend of fact
and fiction. As a stranger tells her, "Anything is possible. After all,
it's the Year of the Monkey." But as Smith heads toward a new decade in
her own life, she offers this balm to the reader: her wisdom, wit,
gimlet eye, and above all, a rugged hope for a better world.
"Smith writes with fresh lucidity, wit, bittersweet wonder, and stoic
sorrow, shifting in tone from lyrical to hallucinatory to hard-boiled as
she describes her meditative and investigative meanderings along the
Pacific coast and in the desert....Elegiac, vital, and magical."
Donna Seaman, Booklist (Starred Review)
"Luminous....Smith casts a mesmerizing spell with exquisite
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
chronicle of a year filled with deep losses and rich epiphanies....Throughout, Smith
ponders time and mortality....Redemptive."
Kirkus (Starred Review)
About the Author
Patti Smith is the author of
Just Kids, which won the National Book Award in 2010, and of
M Train, as well as numerous collections of poetry and essays. Her seminal album
Horses has been hailed as one of the top 100 albums of all time.
In 2005, the French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the title of
Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres; she was inducted into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.