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Knopf Canada, Fall 2019

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    9780593168110 Paperback / softback, Trade, 9780735279308 Paperback / softback, Trade, , $19.95 CAD 9780593155745 Downloadable audio file 9780735279292 Electronic book text, EPUB
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    Distributor: Random House, Inc. Availability: On Sale Date: Sep 24, 2019 Carton Quantity: 12 $29.95 CAD
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Year of the Monkey
By (author): Patti Smith
9780735279285 Hardcover English General Trade BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Music Sep 24, 2019
$29.95 CAD
Active 5.49 x 8.19 x 0.83 in 192 pages Knopf Random Vintage Canada Knopf Canada
From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids and M Train, a profound, beautifully realized 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 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.

REACH: Worldwide icon; award-winning and acclaimed author with a huge social media presence: nearly 350,000 followers on Instagram, 430,000 on Facebook. Year of the Monkey will be published in the UK by Bloomsbury shortly after its release in Canada and the U.S., and in seven other foreign territories (Norway, Italy, Sweden, France, Germany, India, Spain) so far. Smith’s work is published worldwide; more territories to come.

OF THE MOMENT: The book paints hope amid the rifts and disillusionment of today’s political landscape.

SUBJECT MATTER: Making art, aging, writing, her friendship with other significant personalities/writers/musicians

SETTINGS: The book takes us from a boardwalk on the West Coast to the American southwest, the Australian desert, New York City; and to cafés/coffee shops everywhere.

PATTI SMITH is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock. She has released twelve albums, including Horses, which has been hailed as one of the top one hundred albums of all time by Rolling Stone. Smith had her first exhibit of drawings at the Gotham Book Mart in 1973 and has been represented by the Robert Miller Gallery since 1978. Her books include Just Kids, winner of the National Book Award in 2010, Witt, Babel, Woolgathering, The Coral Sea, Auguries of Innocence, M Train, and Devotion. In 2005, the French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest honor given to an artist by the French Republic. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Smith married the musician Fred Sonic Smith in Detroit in 1980. They had a son, Jackson, and a daughter, Jesse. Smith resides in New York City.

Author Residence: New York City

Feature Website: Facebook: @pattismithauthor

Author Website:

Author Social Media: Instagram: @thisispattismith


“It was a year of disruption, wandering, dreams and surreal visions: this year of the monkey on the Chinese zodiac was also the year Smith turned 70, and a trickster election hurled the country into a dark looking-glass realm. Smith writes with fresh lucidity, wit, bittersweet wonder, and stoic sorrow, shifting in tone from lyrical to hallucinatory to hard-boiled as she describes her meditative and investigative meanderings along the Pacific coast and in the desert. Keenly sensitive to atmosphere, she finds herself ‘in the middle of the unexplained’ as she travels with cosmic spontaneity and ‘an almost religious simplicity’…She remembers her life-saving childhood library and a cherished, then dying friend. Smith also chronicles with exquisite poignancy her last visits with her soul mate Sam Shepherd…Elegiac, vital, and magical.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
“Luminous…Smith wanders between waking and dreaming in a year filled with the death of a close friend and the political turmoil of the 2016 election…In light of her seventieth birthday, she writes lyrically on various subjects: she describes Allen Ginsberg’s poetry, which she carries along her travels­, as an ‘expansive hydrogen bomb;’ caught up in Belinda Carlisle’s infectious beat, she imagines a ‘nonviolent hubris spreading across the land.’ She discovers that her most meaningful insights come from her vivid dreams, and she feels a palpable melancholia over having to wake up from them. Smith casts a mesmerizing spell with exquisite prose.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Captivating…a chronicle of a year filled with deep losses and rich epiphanies. The titular year, 2016, set Smith, [who] refers to herself as the ‘poet detective,’ on a quixotic quest, with a mysterious companion unexpectedly reappearing amid a backdrop of rock touring, vagabond traveling, and a poisonous political landscape. Throughout, Smith ponders time and mortality—no surprise considering her milestone birthday, and the experience of losing friends who have meant so much to her. She stresses the importance of memory, and the timeless nature of a person’s spirit…Redemptive.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The warmth and curiosity with which Patti Smith observes her own life makes her one of the finest living companions to living…. [T]his diary of change and destruction is at once a solace and a charge to double down on love.” —Literary Hub

“Intriguing, disturbing yet humorous, with the boundary between fiction and nonfiction blurred, Smith’s work is unlikely to disappoint.” —The Millions

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