Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

Review by JJ Marsh

What we thought:

I read Year of the Monkey in those in-between days after Christmas and before New Year, when you don’t really know what day it is and don’t really care. The intention was to read a little each day and soak up Smith’s account of her 2016, digesting her inimitable blend of fact, fiction and flights of fancy.

I read it in one day.

She’s freewheeling in every sense. Her poetic prose swoops between dreams and waking; she hitches rides with the silent and the verbose; those lost to her are present in thoughts and strange shifts in the political landscape draw both cool observation and heated reaction.

The references to what she reads, sees, photographs and experiences with one foot in the past and another in the present draws the reader into her lighthouse, scanning the cultural and political landscape like a kaleidoscope.

This is a book in which to lose yourself, let go and see what happens. After you’ve finished, it will feel like the most extraordinary dream.

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: M Train, Jack Kerouac, Naked Lunch

Avoid if you don’t like: Fractured narratives, internal monologues, dreams

Ideal accompaniments: Huevos rancheros, black coffee and a shot of tequila

Genre: Memoir

Available on Amazon

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