• M Train

  • By: Patti Smith
  • Narrated by: Patti Smith
  • Length: 6 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,120 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids: an unforgettable odyssey of a legendary artist told through the prism of the cafés and haunts she has worked in around the world. It is a book Patti Smith has described as "a road map to my life".

M Train 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. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer's society in Berlin; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York's Far Rockaway, which Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima.

Woven throughout are reflections on the writer's craft and on artistic creation. Here, too, are singular memories of Smith's life in Michigan and the irremediable loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith.

Braiding despair with hope and consolation, M Train is a meditation on travel, detective shows, literature, and coffee. It is a powerful, deeply moving book by one of the most remarkable multiplatform artists at work today.

©2015 Patti Smith (P)2015 Random House Audio

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What listeners say about M Train

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Dreams, Rituals and Lost Talismans of Patti Smith

"Life is at the bottom of things and belief at the top, while the creative impulse, dwelling in the center, informs all."
-- Patti Smith, M Train

My second Patti Smith memoir. This one was more experimental and nonlinear than 'Just Kids'. It was filled with dreams, rituals, detective shows, talismans, cats, constant travels, coffee, more coffee, missing things, memories, loose threads, graveyards, hotels, photographs, and miles and miles of beautiful, lyrical Patti Smith prose. In the end, Patti Smith made me cry. She took these dreams and random memories and artists and lost things and brought them together into a coherent love note to life, art, and love. She stitched together ideas and travel and talismans of her life into a coherent and moving exploration of things, belief, and creativity. God it was beautiful. I want to be Patti Smith when I grow up.

35 people found this helpful

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"Nothing"

I think Patti Smith is one of the most inspiring minds of this era. I am drawn to her ability to gather jewels from the ephemera in her life.
What an amazing challenge to write about nothing... and make something very simply readable.
Thank you, Patti.

20 people found this helpful

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Exquisite

One of the best dreampoems you'll ever hear. Beautifully written, beautifully performed. Repeatable. Even better than Just Kids, although I'm sure they aren't in competition.

14 people found this helpful

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Don't get it

Maybe I just don't get it. If rambling descriptions of dreams, things she ordered at cafes, things she ate, things she lost, name dropping, more name dropping, and more name dropping are your thing, then this book is for you. Also, when the author reads her own work, I'd imagine she would get it right, exactly how she wants it to come across. And the performance was monotone and very sleepy.
This one was really hard to finish.

12 people found this helpful

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Life as poetry

One of the finest books I have read. Listening to Patti read this was like hearing her thoughts spoken over many cups of coffee to an audience of just me.

12 people found this helpful

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6 hours is not enough

What made the experience of listening to M Train the most enjoyable?

I always love listening to books in the authors voice. I feel like I'm on an adventure with Patti, even as she sits in a café drinking black coffee.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes! And I want more...

11 people found this helpful

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Impressionist View of Exisentialism

If you could sum up M Train in three words, what would they be?

Rambling. Searching. Thoughtful.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This book is essentially a non-linear memoir of Patti Smith's life. I related to many of her feelings of loss and the bittersweet disappointment that comes with life's continuing changes.

Which character – as performed by Patti Smith – was your favorite?

There could be no better narrator than the author herself for this book. Her voice took a little getting used to, but I loved hearing her narrate her own story. It was like listening to someone reading their diary aloud.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

M Train - A Journey Through Life's Stations

Any additional comments?

Overall, I found this to be a searing introspection on loss, loneliness and life. The book is incredibly impressionistic in that Smith beautifully depicts the people and places which touch her life, but it's difficult to grasp what the larger picture looks like. The book was almost too rambling and out of sequence for my liking. I enjoyed the book as I read/heard it but later had a difficult time finding significant 'take away' matter from the book. It did make me want to read her NBA winning memoir, 'Just Kids', and I would definitely consider re-listening to M Train at a later date to soak up more of the details.

10 people found this helpful

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A Platter Filled With Illusions

Patti's writing is clever, funny, compassionate, and adventurous. I loved her stories and travel logs. I laughed. She can be hilarious. Patti has so much literary knowledge and shares her travels on the road with saints and sinners.

7 people found this helpful

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Great reading of an amazing book

I read Just Kids and was impressed with Patty Smith's writing ability and their story. This book takes her written art to another level. Very personal, touching, mundane, poetic, descriptive and detailed. She takes the reader into her interesting world and I was sorry to leave.

6 people found this helpful

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A downer

Would you try another book from Patti Smith and/or Patti Smith?

Yes, because she is Patti Smith, a great latter-day Beat artist.

What was most disappointing about Patti Smith’s story?

It is a depressing, sad meditation on growing older and the death of friends and family.

How could the performance have been better?

How could it be better than the author's own narration?

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I had to stop listening and move on after a few hours into the book because I had other reading priorities and the book was too hard on my perhaps precarious mental balance. The Beat writers can do that to me.

Any additional comments?

This book does not have the vibrancy and youthful perspective of Smith's Just Kids that made it a great listen for me. Perhaps when my head is in a different place, I will try listening to M Train again. But, for now, M Train and Smith's narration is just too much of a downer. The problem may be with the listener and not the writer at this point in space-time.

5 people found this helpful

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