M Train by Patti Smith - review by Ian Sansom

Ian Sansom

Cafe Culture

M Train


Bloomsbury 272pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

‘It’s not so easy writing about nothing’, states Patti Smith at the beginning of M Train. She just makes it look easy. M Train is essentially a companion piece to her 2010 memoir, Just Kids, which was a record of her life in New York in the early 1970s with her friend the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. M Train is about her life now – living alone, avoiding social commitments, feeding her cats and sitting in cafes drinking black coffee.

If this makes M Train sound dull, it most certainly is not. Patti Smith couldn’t be dull any more than most of us could be Patti Smith. For you or me, writing about nothing really might mean writing about nothing. For Patti Smith, writing about nothing involves writing about a

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter