M Train


M TrainM Train by Patti Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are looking for wild tales of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll then best look elsewhere. Patti Smith’s drug of choice nowadays appears to be coffee. She can’t get enough of the stuff and consumes it with a passion in her favourite cafes, while contemplating life and writing about art and culture.

This, her second memoir, offers snapshots of her life in places as diverse as Iceland, Mexico and Japan. M Train, is a transient and dreamlike collection of thoughts and shards of memory. It is a travel book of sorts, with Smith on a mission to honour her heroes who include Rimbaud, Plath, Genet, Kahlo, Murakami and Mishima.

Holed up in hotel rooms, Smith loses herself in her passion for TV crime series like Cracker and The Killing. M Train is also a book about loss in a constantly changing world. She recalls precious moments with her late husband, Fred “Sonic” Smith. She charts the progress of her dream home by the sea at Rockaway Beach, and the destruction wreaked upon the area by Hurricane Sandy – life doesn’t always go to plan.

M Train is an excellent read that has more in common with the hybrid literary work of WG Sebald than with your average rock star autobiography. This is a journey you don’t want to end.

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