Year of the Monkey

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.

Title:Year of the Monkey
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780525657682
Format Type:

    Year of the Monkey Reviews

  • Chris Molnar

    Just Kids is a romantic, bohemian coming of age memoir par excellence; I'm only slightly ashamed to say I moved to New York because of it. The follow-up M Train is not inspiring in the same way but st...

  • Diane S ?

    Surrealism in words. Free flowing thoughts, a fever dream, all can be used when experiencing this latest voyage through Smith's thoughts. An experience it is, interpretations, sometimes in dreams, som...

  • Cheri

    ”Marcus Aurelius asks us to note the passing of time with open eyes. Ten thousand years or ten thousand days, nothing can stop time, or change the fact that I would be turning seventy in the Year...

  • PorshaJo

    I love Patti Smith. I got to see her talk on a book tour of her last book M Train. It was great, part lecture, part reading, and part concert of her singing some great music. Ha, that's lots of parts....

  • David Schaafsma

    “A mortal folly comes over the world”—Antonin Artaud“Anything is possible, he said. After all, it’s the Year of the Monkey.”Year of the Monkey is the third memoir from punk rocker and Nati...

  • Calista

    This is a year in the life of Patti Smith and it’s wrapped up like a dream. We start out and she is on the California coast at the Dream Inn. Her life friend Sam, I'm not sure if they’re married o...

  • Maxwell

    [6/10]As with most Patti Smith books, I think I'll enjoy this one the more time I ponder it and when I inevitably read it again. It's very dreamy and wandering, about a year in her life where she was ...

  • Vanessa

    Patti Smith is nothing if not a wordsmith. I would love to spend a day in her head, because her brain is a fascinating one. Year of the Monkey is kind of a memoir of Patti living a kind of vagabond ex...

  • Leslie Ray

    Reading this was like being apart someone's dream with insight into their reflections and thoughts while with the feeling of suspension in time that dreams often evoke. Patti Smith writes about the ye...

  • Janet

    There are books I love not just for what they are in themselves, but for the quality of the ideas they stimulate within me, their lingering effect. The Year of the Monkey is such a book. In a year rul...