Books

Year of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey is a memoir by Patti Smith.

Patti Smith

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 is available in Sept. 2019.

Smith is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and award-winning author. Her previous books include the National Book Award winner Just Kids and M Train.

Interviews with Patti Smith

The punk pioneer, award-winning writer and noted photographer talks to CBC's Deana Sumanac about her multi-hyphenate status and expressing different sides of herself through her music and art. 5:44
Patti Smith is a writer, a poet, a musician, an artist, a world traveller and a visionary. She joins Shad to discuss her latest memoir "M Train", a book that takes the reader through her life, her memories, her creative impulses, and her surprising passions. 22:20
The rocker, writer and photographer revisits her past, her loves and her art in her latest memoir 2:47
Punk pioneer Patti Smith sat down with CBC News' Deana Sumanac-Johnson to discuss her favourite Canadian musicians, and one choice — a notable classical pianist — might surprise you. 1:28
The iconic American musician, writer and photographer talked to Eleanor Wachtel onstage in 2013 to celebrate the launch of her photo exhibit, Camera Solo. 53:06
Patti Smith on her new album, Banga, breaking rules, Neil Young, the environment, and her secret to happiness. 8:52
Eleanor Wachtel talks to American singer-songerwriter, poet, and visual artist Patti Smith. 53:58
Singer-songwriter Patti Smith joins Shad to discuss her new memoir, her hard-won lessons and her surprising passions. 23:37

Other books by Patti Smith

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