Review: M Train – Patti Smith.

Start the reading year as you mean to go on. For me, it was with Queen Patti, who makes drinking black coffee almost poetic, having her table at a café pinched akin to a Midsomer Murders-esque provocation.

She muses It’s not so easy writing about nothing, yet her rambling, thought-following, wandering mind shows that it can be done. You’d think there’s only so many ways you could drink a coffee, but alas, each is a new breath of fresh air in language.

Where Just Kids pretty much stabs you in the heart, so moving a tribute it is, M Train takes you across a wider journey, around the world, one café at a time. There’s life in the mundane, there’s pain from the death of those close to her.

When you read a memoir, there are often similar touchstones. I read a lot from musicians, and the same scenes are often recapped from different perspectives; Patti is unlike anyone else, so instead you’re taken on the road of reflectiveness, of celebrating many of those who came before her.

See, life happens in the pages, but it’s the magic of how the sun rises or getting your favourite seat that sets it apart. I mean, I’ll give you a snippet of her talking about Murakami and you’ll just get the essence of the entire book:

There are two kinds of masterpieces. There are the classic works monstrous and divine like Mody Dick or Wuthering Heights or Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus. And then there is the type wherein the writer seems to infuse living energy into words as the reader is spun, wrung, and hung out to dry. Devastating books.



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