This searing, extraordinarily evocative narrative opens with a man in his house at dawn, surrounded by aspens, coyotes cackling in the distance as he quietly navigates the distance between present and past. More and more, memory is overtaking him- in his mind he sees himself in a movie-set trailer, his young face staring back at him in a mirror surrounded by light bulbs. In his dreams and in visions he sees his late father-sometimes in miniature, sometimes flying planes, sometimes at war. By turns, he sees the bygone America of his childhood- the farmland and the feedlots, the railyards and the diners-and, most hauntingly, his father's young girlfriend, with whom he also became involved, setting into motion a tragedy that has stayed with him. His complex interiority is filtered through views of mountains and deserts as he drives across the country, propelled by jazz, Benzedrine, rock and roll, and a restlessness born out of exile. The rhythms of theater, the language of poetry, and a flinty humor combine in this stunning meditation on the nature of experience, at once celebratory, surreal, poignant, and unforgettable.
Sam Shepard is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than fifty-five plays and three story collections. As an actor, he has appeared in more than sixty films and received an Oscar nomination in 1984 for The Right Stuff. He was a finalist for the W. H. Smith Literary Award for his story collection Great Dream of Heaven. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy, and has been inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
"Richly complex. . . . Minutely observed. . . . A sharp-eyed distillation of the themes that have preoccupied him throughout his career." --The New York Times "A writer who has already established himself as an essential modern American playwright. . . . Compelling. . . . Magnetic." --Chicago Tribune
"[The narrator] seeks authenticity, even as he creates art and artifice as a m tier. Masculinity and its perils, the primitive drama of sibling and father-son rivalry, are the wellsprings of Shepard's work." --The New York Times Book Review
"Moving . . . [Shepard is] remarkably successful at rendering his long career of storytelling in relief." --Santa Fe New Mexican
"Shepard is a master of conflicting emotions and haunting regrets, and--graced with a forward by Patti Smith--this is a ravishing tale of deep-dark cosmic humor, complex tragedy, and self-inflicted exile." --Booklist (starred review)
"Meditative and valedictory. . . . Since this is Shepard, the protagonist is riding a sharp and polished knife's edge as he muses. . . . Memories of his father, especially during wartime; of his father's girlfriend, with whom he also became involved (with tragic consequences); and of the vibrant American landscape inform the narrative." --Library Journal
"Vivid. . . . Following a poignant foreword by Patti Smith, each successive chapter of the novel flits among times and forms. . . . Striking and memorable, illustrative of what makes Shepard's work so arresting on the screen and the page." --Publishers Weekly
"An elegiac amble through blowing dust and greasy spoons, the soundtrack the whine of truck engines and the howl of coyotes. . . . At turns, Shepard's story morphs from novel, with recurring characters and structured narrative, into prose poem, with lysergic flashes of brilliance and amphetamine stutters. . . . Atmospheric and precisely observed, very much of a piece with Shepard's other work." --Kirkus Reviews
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