Michiko Kakutani, on Patti Smith's M Train:
[ Full essay ]
“M Train” feels more like a look at the past through a rearview mirror. Ms. Smith writes of feeling “a longing for the way things were.” She writes about ghosts drawing us away from the present. She writes about singing “What a Wonderful World” for Fred at his memorial service and she writes about realizing that she is now older than Fred when he died — and older than many of her departed friends.
“I’m going to remember everything,” she thinks, “and then I’m going to write it all down. An aria to a coat. A requiem for a cafe.” An eloquent — and a deeply moving — elegy for what she has “lost and cannot find” but can remember in words.