M Train

M Train

Book - 2015
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14
National Best Seller 

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids : an unforgettable odyssey of a legendary artist, told through the prism of the cafés and haunts she has worked in around the world. It is a book Patti Smith has described as "a roadmap to my life."

M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer's society in Berlin; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York's Far Rockaway that Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima.

Woven throughout are reflections on the writer's craft and on artistic creation. Here, too, are singular memories of Smith's life in Michigan and the irremediable loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith.

Braiding despair with hope and consolation, illustrated with her signature Polaroids, M Train is a meditation on travel, detective shows, literature, and coffee. It is a powerful, deeply moving book by one of the most remarkable multiplatform artists at work today.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101875100
1101875100
9780345815453
0345815459
Call Number: 780.2 Sm634a2
Characteristics: 253 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Her lyrical, beautiful memoir picks up after her best seller and National Book Award winner Just Kids. A gorgeous meditation of Patti Smith's unconventional life and an ode to her many loved ones who died too soon.

Her lyrical, beautiful memoir picks up after her best seller and National Book Award winner Just Kids. A gorgeous meditation of Patti Smith's unconventional life and an ode to her many loved ones who died too soon.


From the critics


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sloanelCPL
Apr 14, 2019

M Train by Patti Smith is an expensive book to read, as I follow up on Smith's book meanderings, and, "oh, this would be a great book for J....," "S.... would love this book" "Would the new bookstore in Inglewood have a copy of this?" and "What else has she written? Poetry?! I'll order one of those..." I loved the random meanderness of her writing, with the delicious ambiguity of whether this is memory or dream or waking dream. And the coffee, my substance of choice. “Home is a desk. The amalgamation of a dream. Home is the cats, my books, and my work never done." provides an endorsement for my eccentric living. “Every morning I got up, put on my coat and watch cap, grabbed my pen and notebook, and headed across Sixth Avenue to my café.”  "... a long, unwinding scroll that I would one day amuse myself by filling. I'm going to remember everything and then I'm going to write it all down. An aria to a coat. A requiem for a café.” 

See https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/11/02/patti-smith-favorite-books-m-train/?fbclid=IwAR2JppGnMzmWIn2PTe08CDER3uqll1E6IBj0mi-uQakVjuO8-HnVR42wa5E

m
MB85CAL
May 23, 2018

Sheer poetry in how Patti Smith turns a phrase or sentence to conjure an image or an emotion. Highly recommend for a thoughtful and pleasurable read.

i
ilovemango
Aug 29, 2017

Loved this book. Was blown away by her knowledge and love of literature.

DBRL_IdaF Jul 19, 2017

I've long felt an affinity for Patti Smith. There are many layers to this. One day when my children were young I heard her on the radio for the first time in years. Then I discovered she'd been working at raising her children in the interim. This most excellent and inspiring poet/musician had been doing mom work, like me (but probably better). But when her husband died, she had to get back to paying work.

M Train is a reflective book. Smith doesn't write in shoulds. She writes of is. What is. What is inside and outside. How her dreams coexist with the world outside of her head.

My, does she ever love coffee. You know what else she loves? Her husband Fred. Loves, present tense, despite his having died in the 1990s. It's there in every word she writes about him.

"We want things we cannot have. We seek to reclaim a certain moment, sound, sensation. I want to hear my mother's voice. I want to see my children as children. Hands small, feet swift. Everything changes. Boy grown, father dead, daughter taller than me, weeping from a bad dream. Please stay forever, I say to the things I know. Don't go. Don't grow."

v
vickiz
Dec 13, 2016

As I was reading M Train, I yearned to be able to reach through the words and the wistful Polaroids and extend a comforting hand to Patti Smith. Her grief is deep and palpable, but her resilience and her abiding curiosity about the world as she wanders and seeks answers is both inspirational and beautifully poetic at the same time.

s
spantell
Oct 13, 2016

It's very stream of consciousness. I liked Just Kids a lot better but found this kind of soothing, as others have said.

Raindancer Oct 11, 2016

I discovered Patti Smith when I was a teenager, dancing around my room to Horses. It resonated a chord with me. Sometimes the right book finds us at the right time. For me this was the book. I started reading M Train the same day I brought my first Murakami book completely unaware that was what the title M Train referred to. One of those happy bizarre coincidences. M Train is a meditation on coffee, cafe's, New York, love, writing and discovering portals to parallel universes. Now many years later I have rediscovered Patti Smith as a writer and fallen under her spell all over again.

u
uncommonreader
Aug 30, 2016

Melancholy, lonely and somewhat self-indulgent but interesting nevertheless.

j
jannylegs
Jul 11, 2016

Beautiful meditation on loss, with heavy memories of her late husband threading throughout. Read it in one sitting.

p
pattyskypants
Apr 23, 2016

Something about her writing is stiff yet very comforting. She's like that in person as well. I would like to hear more from her.

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