Patti Smith is an idol of mine. Not because Horses is an iconic album, but because Smith seems to be authentically herself all of the time.
Smith's first novel, Just Kids, is a must-read (more here). Her second is a beautiful story about loss. The loss of her husband, her brother and her close friend Robert Mapplethorpe. She subtly shares this loss by sharing her current solitary life - each day heading to her very favorite coffee shop and sitting at the table in the back corner. As we follow Smith's train of thought through her routines, she shares some stories about her husband, but not many. There is a slow build of a feeling of loneliness that isn't obviously stated until the end of the book where she writes, "Just come back. You've been gone long enough." Smith also draws a parallel between the feeling of loss and the loss of physical things. She writes about change - both rapid like hurricane Sandy and the slow, gradual change that happens as years pass. At the end of the book everything subtly comes together. While there's no resolve, there is so much meaning that it is somewhat satisfying.
M Train left me sad, yet hopeful. I loved the entire thing - I felt like I truly was in Smith's head, thinking her thoughts and feeling her feelings. I highly recommend this book.