M Train

Publisher: Knopf Canada
From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids: an unforgettable odyssey into the mind of this legendary artist, told through the prism of cafés and haunts she has visited and worked in around the world.
     M Train is a journey through seventeen "stations." It 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. We then travel, through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations: from Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul in Mexico, to a meeting of an Arctic explorer's society in Berlin; from the ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York's Far Rockaway that Smith buys just before Hurricane Sandy hits, to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud and Mishima. Woven throughout are reflections on the writer's craft and on artistic creation, alongside signature memories, including of her life in Michigan with her husband, guitarist Fred Sonic Smith, whose untimely death was an irremediable loss. For it is loss, as well as the consolation we might salvage from it, that lies at the heart of this exquisitely told memoir, one augmented by stunning black-and-white Polaroids taken by Smith herself. M Train is a meditation on endings and on beginnings: a poetic tour de force by one of the most brilliant, multi-platform artists at work today.

READ AN EXCERPT

I believe in movement. I believe in that lighthearted balloon, the world. I believe in midnight and the hour of noon. But what else do I believe in? Sometimes everything. Some- times nothing. It fluctuates like light flitting over a pond. I believe in life, which one day each of us shall lose. When we are young we think we...
Read More

PRAISE FOR

Praise for Just Kids:
"[A] lovely and loving, at times sweet, at times harrowing, evocation of a long-vanished/never-to-recur era when two penniless youngsters of the working-class, armed only with talent, dreams and a knack for shoplifting, could bunk up in New York's Chelsea Hotel ('a doll's house in the Twilight Zone') and make a boho go of it. . . . [A] remarkably clear-eyed, often amusing reminiscence." The Globe and Mail
"A masterpiece . . . a book so honest and pure as to count as a true rapture." Joan Didion
"One of the best books ever written on becoming an artist. . . . Jesus may have died for somebody's sins, but Patti Smith lives and writes and sings for all of us." The Washington Post
"This enchanting book is a reminder that not all youthful vainglory is silly; sometimes it's preparation. Few artists ever proved it like these two." Tom Carson, The New York Times Book Review