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—with an entirely new chapter and ten new photos.
Following a run of concerts at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore, Patti Smith finds herself tramping the coast of Santa Cruz. Unfettered by logic or time, she draws us into her private wonderland as 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—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, and now with a wonderful and entirely new chapter, “Epilogue of an Epilogue,” which includes many new photos in Smith’s signature style, Year of the Monkey is a moving and original work, a touchstone for our turbulent times.