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Year of the Monkey

Narrated by: Patti Smith
Length: 3 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith, read by Patti Smith.  

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids and M Train, a profound, beautifully realised 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 Patti 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 Southern 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. But as Patti Smith heads toward a new decade in her own life, she offers this balm to the listener: her wisdom, wit, gimlet eye and, above all, a rugged hope of a better world.  

Riveting, elegant, often humorous, Year of the Monkey is a moving and original work, a touchstone for our turbulent times.

©2019 Patti Smith (P)2019 Penguin Random House Audio

What listeners say about Year of the Monkey

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  • DC
  • 08-06-2020

Boring and disjointed

Only positive was the narrator's droning monotone voice helped with getting me off to sleep. The stories within stories never seemed to peak to the point of interesting let alone thrilling in any way. I didn't enjoy this book at all.

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  • Andrea K. Marcou
  • 01-10-2020

Mesmerising

A beautiful book both mesmerising and thought provoking. Humour (dry) will bring a smile to your face. You won’t be disappointed

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  • papapownall
  • 10-04-2020

A year in the life of Patti Smith

This short book tells the story of a year in the life of Patti Smith between the ages of 69 and 70 - the year of the Monkey in the astronomical calendar. Unlike most biographies, she talks little of her work as a musician and poet but talks a lot about coffee shops she visits, the people she meets on her road trips, the hotels where she stays and the inanimate objects such as signs that she has conversations with. There is an almost magical quality to the writing and hearing her speak is spell binding. She talks about her friend and inspiration Sandy Pearlman and her sadness at his demise and her feeling of loss for others who have left her life. There is an underlying feeling of spirituality in the writing that is hard to define, it has the feeling of Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan's Chronicles Volume One,. Ultimately it is the story of a drifter and a free spirit.

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  • V. Austin
  • 08-02-2020

That Voice. Those Words.

I could listen to Patti Smith and her magic words for ever. A traveller’s memoir or thoughts and encounters over the course of a year. I loved it.