WTF just happened?
Below you’ll find a book review I wrote yesterday when there was some semblance of normalcy in the ether. I spent the entire afternoon and evening doing what is most inimical to writing — watching history unspool on the tube. Please be wise.
Please be safe.
The Year of the Monkey / Patti Smith (2019)
Enjoyable enough memoir from Patti Smith. Spends a bit too much time segueing into dream states incarnate. But even ok Patti Smith is a good enough time with a book.
It doesn’t have the import of Just Kids or M Train, but it certainly has the art, remembrances of things past, literary allusions, loss of loved ones, and globe trotting, and photography of both earlier books (few memoirs do).
I was lucky enough to read my copy while listening to the audiobook (a practice I started with some books last year, and first with Smith’s M Train) because Smith’s voice and reading style are unmatched — well, except maybe William S. Burrough’s who makes a brief appearance here and Tom Waits (who doesn’t).
Another bonus of the audiobook is that where my hardback edition ended with the post-epilogue in 2017, the audiobook which was released in the spring of 2020 included an extra 45 minutes of material up to the pandemic’s early days in the U.S. in 2020, and obviously incidents between 2017-2020. A nice perk of the audiobook. / hardcover & audiobook, 01/04/21.
“I was still moving within an atmosphere of artificial brightness with corrosive edges, the hyperreality of a polarizing pre-election mudslide, an avalanche of toxicity infiltrating every outpost. I wiped the shit from my shoes again and again, still going about my business, that of being alive, the best I could.”
—Patti Smith / The Year of the Monkey