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Year of the monkey / by Patti Smith.

By: Smith, Patti.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London, England : Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019Copyright date: ©2019Description: 171 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.Content type: text | still image Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781526614759; 1526614758.Subject(s): Smith, Patti | Women rock musicians -- United States | Women musicians -- United States -- Biography | Poets, American | Poets, American -- 20th century -- BiographyGenre/Form: Autobiographies.DDC classification: 818/.5403 | 782.42166092 Summary: Following a run of New Year's concerts at San Francisco's legendary Fillmore in 2016, 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, with no design yet heeding signs, including a talking sign that looms above her, prodding and sparring like the Cheshire Cat. In February, a surreal lunar year begins, bringing with it unexpected turns, heightened mischief, and inescapable sorrow. In a stranger's words, "Anything is possible: after all, it's the year of the monkey." For Patti Smith - inveterately curious, always exploring, tracking thoughts, writing the year evolves as one of reckoning with the changes in life's gyre: with loss, aging, and a dramatic shift in the political landscape of America. Smith melds the Western landscape with her own dreamscape. Taking us from Southern California to the Arizona desert; to a Kentucky farm as the amanuensis of a friend in crisis; to the hospital room of a valued mentor; and by turns to remembered and imagined places - this haunting memoir blends fact and fiction with poetic mastery. The unexpected happens; grief and disillusionment. But as Patti 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 of a better world. Riveting, elegant, often humorous, illustrated by Smith's signature Polaroids, Year of the Monkey is a moving and original work, a touchstone for our turbulent times.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids
Selected as Book of the Year by the Daily Telegraph , i paper , Metro and Harper's Bazaar
'Magical' GUARDIAN

'A gripping tale of the search for meaning in times of turbulence - expressed with Smith's signature poetic flair' VOGUE

'Extraordinary ... A tense, teasing mix of reality and dream' Sunday Times

'A melancholy mood and poetic language distinguish Smith's third memoir' BBC

'Her willingness to look closely at life's closing chapters makes for a magical book' WASHINGTON POST, 'The 10 books to read in September'
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, with no design yet heeding signs, including a talking sign that looms above her, prodding and sparring like the Cheshire Cat. In February, a surreal lunar year begins, bringing with it unexpected turns, heightened mischief, and inescapable sorrow. In a stranger's words, "Anything is possible- after all, it's the year of the monkey." For Patti Smith - inveterately curious, always exploring, tracking thoughts, writing the year evolves as one of reckoning with the changes in life's gyre- with loss, aging, and a dramatic shift in the political landscape of America.
Smith melds the Western landscape with her own dreamscape. Taking us from Southern California to the Arizona desert; to a Kentucky farm as the amanuensis of a friend in crisis; to the hospital room of a valued mentor; and by turns to remembered and imagined places - this haunting memoir blends fact and fiction with poetic mastery. The unexpected happens; grief and disillusionment. But as Patti 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 of a better world.
Riveting, elegant, often humorous, illustrated by Smith's signature Polaroids, 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 in 2016, 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, with no design yet heeding signs, including a talking sign that looms above her, prodding and sparring like the Cheshire Cat. In February, a surreal lunar year begins, bringing with it unexpected turns, heightened mischief, and inescapable sorrow. In a stranger's words, "Anything is possible: after all, it's the year of the monkey." For Patti Smith - inveterately curious, always exploring, tracking thoughts, writing the year evolves as one of reckoning with the changes in life's gyre: with loss, aging, and a dramatic shift in the political landscape of America. Smith melds the Western landscape with her own dreamscape. Taking us from Southern California to the Arizona desert; to a Kentucky farm as the amanuensis of a friend in crisis; to the hospital room of a valued mentor; and by turns to remembered and imagined places - this haunting memoir blends fact and fiction with poetic mastery. The unexpected happens; grief and disillusionment. But as Patti 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 of a better world. Riveting, elegant, often humorous, illustrated by Smith's signature Polaroids, Year of the Monkey is a moving and original work, a touchstone for our turbulent times.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Venice Beach, city of detectives. Where there's a palm tree, there's Jack Lord, there's Horatio Caine. I checked in at a small hotel near Ozone Avenue, not far from the boardwalk. From my window, I could see the young palms and the back entrance of the On the Waterfront Café, a good place for lunch. The coffee arrived in a white mug decorated with an engaging blue starfish floating above their motto-- Where the Brew Is as Good as the View . The tables were covered with dark green oilcloth. I had to keep swatting flies away, but that didn't bother me. Nothing bothered me, not even the things that bothered me. I noticed across from me a good-looking fellow like a young Russell Crowe sitting across from a girl with a lot of pancake makeup. Probably covering bad skin, but she had an inner thing you could feel across the room, decorated with dark glasses, dark bob, fake leopard coat, a born replica of a movie star. They were immersed in their world and I in theirs, imagining them as detective Mike Hammer and the glamorously detached Velma. While I was writing this all down, the pair left unobserved, their table cleared and new napkins and clean utensils laid, as if they had never been there. I always liked the beach in Venice as it seems vast, a wide expanse that increases at low tide. I removed my boots, rolled up my pants and walked along the shore. The water was extremely cold but therapeutic, my sleeves soaked from scooping up seawater to splash on my face and neck. I noticed a single wrapper caught up in the waves but didn't retrieve it. The trouble with dreaming , a familiar voice trailed, but I was lured away by the sound of peculiar birds, big squawky ones, standing at attention and right on the verge of speaking. Unfortunately, a small part of me was already debating whether birds could actually speak, which broke the connection. I circled back, questioning myself why I had regrettably hesitated when I am well aware that certain winged creatures possess the ability to form words, spin monologues and at times dominate an entire conversation. I decided on the Waterfront for dinner but went the opposite way and passed a wall covered in murals, Chagall-like scenes from Fiddler on the Roof , floating violinists amidst tongues of flame that produced a disconcerting sense of nostalgia. When I finally circled back and entered the Waterfront, I thought I had made a mistake. The layout looked totally different than in the afternoon. There was a pool table and nothing but fellas of all ages with baseball caps and huge glasses of beer with slices of lemon. Several looked at me as I entered, an unthreatening alien, then went about the business of drinking and talking. There was a hockey game on a big screen with no sound. The din, the drone, was all male, amiable male, laughing and talking, broken only by the tapping of a ball with a cue stick, the ball dropping into the pocket. I ordered coffee, a fish sandwich and salad, the most expensive plate on the menu. The fish was small and deep-fried, but the lettuce and onions were fresh. The same starfish mug, the same brew. I laid my money on the table and went out. It was raining. I put on my watch cap. Passing the mural, I nodded to the Yiddish fiddler, commiserating an unspoken fear of friends slipping away. The heat wasn't working in my room. I laid on the couch, bundled up, half watching the Extreme Homes channel, endless episodes featuring architects outlining how they built into rock and sloping shale or the mechanics of realizing a five-ton revolving copper roof. Dwelling places that resembled huge boulders replicating real surrounding boulders. Houses in Tokyo, Vail and the California desert. I would fall asleep and open my eyes to a repeat of the same Japanese house, or a house that represented the three parts of The Divine Comedy . I wondered what it would feel like to sleep in a room manifesting Dante's Hell. In the morning, I watched the gulls swooping by my window. It was closed, so I could not hear them. Silent, silent gulls. There was a light rain and the hair of the high palms swayed in the wind. I put on my cap and jacket and went looking for breakfast. With the Waterfront closed, I settled for a place on Rose Avenue that had its own bakery and a vegetarian menu. I got a bowl of kale and yams, but what I really wanted was steak and eggs. The guy next to me was chattering away to his partner about some country that was importing giant carnivorous snapping turtles to get rid of the corpses floating in a sacred river. There was a used-book store off Rose. I looked for a copy of The Third Reich but there were no books by Bolaño. I found a secondhand DVD of The Pied Piper , starring Van Johnson. I couldn't believe my luck. I could hear Kay Starr, the mother of the crippled boy, singing her poignant lament. Where's my son, my son John? Which got me thinking of the missing children. Kids and candy wrappers. They had to be related, though maybe not in the same proximity. Incredibly, there wasn't a word about the missing kids in any of the papers. I was having my doubts about the whole thing, though it was hard to believe Cammy would make up such a story. I walked through an arcade on Pacific, stopping at a door that said Mao's Kitchen . I stood there wondering if I should enter when the door opened and a woman motioned for me to come in. It was a communal kind of place, with an open kitchen fitted with industrial stoves and pots of steaming dumplings beneath a sign that said The People's Grub along with faded posters of rice fields on the back wall. I was reminded of a past journey when my friend Ray and I went looking for the cave near the Chinese border where Ho Chi Minh wrote the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence. We walked through endless rice paddies, pale gold, and the sky a clear blue, staggered by what was an ordinary spectacle for most. The woman brought a pot of fresh ginger, lemon and honey. --You were coughing, she said. --I'm always coughing, I laughed. There was a fortune cookie on my saucer. I slipped it in my pocket to save for later. I felt connected to the modest peace offered with the fare, thinking about nothing. Just wisps of things, meaningless things, like remembering my mother once told me that Van Johnson always wore red socks, even in black and white movies. I wondered if he wore them when he played the Piper. Back in my room I opened the cookie and unwound the fortune. You will step on the soul of many countries. I'll be careful, I said under my breath, but upon second glance I realized it actually said soil. In the morning, I decided to retrace my steps, go back to the beginning, return to the same city to the same hotel in Japantown steps away from the same Peace Tower. It was time to sit vigilance with Sandy, clawing his way through cellular extremes--not, as was his custom, to explore an imagined system, but to plumb the depths of himself. On the way to the airport it occurred to me that the Pied Piper story was not essentially one of revenge but of love. I got a one-way ticket to San Francisco. For a moment, I thought I saw Ernest passing through security. Excerpted from Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

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.)

Booklist Review

It was a year of disruption, wandering, loss, disorienting dreams, and surreal visions. This year of the monkey' on the Chinese zodiac was also the year Smith turned 70 and a trickster election hurled the country into a dark looking-glass realm. In her third memoir, National Book Award winner Smith writes with fresh lucidity, arch 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 during which she encounters a bizarrely communicative sign for the Dream Inn, scatterings of weirdly pristine candy wrappers, and strangers discussing Roberto Bolaño's 2666 and a saint saving imperiled children. Keenly sensitive to atmosphere within and without, Smith finds herself in the middle of the unexplained as she travels with cosmic spontaneity and an almost religious simplicity. She matches the verifiable with the inexplicable and remembers her life-saving childhood library and her cherished, then dying friend, the pioneering songwriter, producer, and critic Sandy Pearlman. Smith also chronicles with exquisite poignancy her last visits with her soul mate Sam Shepherd as she helps him complete his last book. Smith's reflections on a wrenching yet grace-filled year as the world in its dependable folly kept spinning is elegiac, vital, and magical.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Smith's large, loyal following will seek out this spellbinding memoir, just as they embraced Just Kids (2010) and M Train (2015).--Donna Seaman Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

This chronicle of a chaotic year filled with deep losses and rich epiphanies finds the writer and performer covering a whole lot of ground.In terms of the calendar, Smith's latest memoir has a tighter focus than its predecessors, M Train (2015) and Just Kids (2010), which won the National Book Award. The titular year is 2016, a year that would begin just after the author turned 69 and end with her turning 70. That year, Smith endured the death of her beloved friend Sandy Pearlman, the music producer and manager with whom she would "have coffee at Caff Trieste, peruse the shelves of City Lights Bookstore and drive back and forth across the Golden Gate listening to the Doors and Wagner and the Grateful Dead"; and the decline of her lifelong friend and kindred spirit Sam Shepard. She held vigil for Pearlman at his hospital deathbed, and she helped Shepard revise his final manuscript, taking dictation when he could no longer type. Throughout, the author ponders time and mortalityno surprise considering her milestone birthday and the experience of losing friends who have meant so much to her. She stresses the importance of memory and the timeless nature of a person's spirit (her late husband remains very much alive in these pages as well). Seeing her own reflection, she thinks, "I noticed I looked young and old simultaneously." She refers to herself as the "poet detective," and this particular year set her on a quixotic quest, with a mysterious companion unexpectedly reappearing amid a backdrop of rock touring, lecture touring, vagabond traveling, and a poisonous political landscape. "I was still moving within an atmosphere of artificial brightness with corrosive edges," she writes, "the hyperreality of a polarizing pre-election mudslide, an avalanche of toxicity infiltrating every outpost."A captivating, redemptive chronicle of a year in which Smith looked intently into the abyss. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.