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Whereas Ms. Smith's haunting 2010 memoir, "Just Kids," centered on her early years in New York in the late 1960s and '70s and her friendship with Mr. Mapplethorpe, this volume is more peripatetic, chronicling her peregrinations around the world and into the recesses of her imagination, though always returning to her home base in Manhattan. Its unities are not of time and place, but the landscape of Ms. Smith's own mind -- her dreams, her memories, her preoccupation with certain artists (Jean Genet, William S. Burroughs, Sylvia Plath), books ("The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle," "After Nature," "2666") and television shows ("The Killing," "Law & Order," "CSI: Miami").

More in words.

During her travels, Ms. Smith makes pilgrimages to the graves of writers she admires: Brecht, Plath, Rimbaud, Genet. The ghosts of such artists haunt these pages, as do the spirits of her beloved husband and brother. And a dark melody of loss threads its way through this volume. Her favorite coat -- lost. Her favorite Murakami book -- left in an airport bathroom. Her favorite camera -- left on a beach. Her favorite neighborhood cafe -- closed. Ms. Smith buys a tiny house near Rockaway Beach, Queens, and while it somehow survives Hurricane Sandy, she witnesses the myriad losses of her neighbors -- the boardwalk turned to splinters, a friend's cafe gone, hundreds of homes burned to the ground or flooded.


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