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Year of the Monkey

About the Book

Year of the Monkey

From the National Book Award-winning author of JUST KIDS and M TRAIN, a profound, beautifully realized memoir in which dreams and reality are vividly woven into a tapestry of one transformative year.

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 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 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 set in. 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.

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.

Year of the Monkey
by Patti Smith

  • Publication Date: September 24, 2019
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • ISBN-10: 0525657681
  • ISBN-13: 9780525657682