Cruising Paradise

( 2 )

Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actor, ex-cowboy, and musician Sam Shepard now stands revealed as a storyteller of dazzling artistry. Bleak and wildly funny, touching but stringently unsentimental, these stories give readers a most intimate view of the writer who has become synonymous with the recklessness, stoicism, and solitude of American manhood.

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Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actor, ex-cowboy, and musician Sam Shepard now stands revealed as a storyteller of dazzling artistry. Bleak and wildly funny, touching but stringently unsentimental, these stories give readers a most intimate view of the writer who has become synonymous with the recklessness, stoicism, and solitude of American manhood.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The actor/ playwright's 40 tales set in the remote reaches of the U.S. and Mexico are a "terse and wistful fiction debut," said PW. July
Library Journal
Playwright Shepard reads a series of short selections from his book of the same title. Many are told entirely through dialog, which makes them particularly suited to the spoken-word medium. Subject matter ranges from a battered woman's frustrating but touching conversation with her senile mother to a rumination on violence in a small-town watering hole to an actor's hilarious efforts to affect concern in a film scene in which he must confront a friend's suicide. Nearly all the characters are quirky, and, particularly in the stories that rely so heavily on dialog, listeners will discern as much through unspoken words and awkward pauses as the conversations themselves. The author provides a restrained but sure reading, and his interpretation of female characters is sympathetic and utterly believable. Recommended for both serious and popular collections.-Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"
Kirkus Reviews
Playwright and actor Shepard's (Motel Chronicles, 1983, etc.) first fiction explores many of the same themes as his best plays: the relations of fathers and sons, the transition to manhood, the lure of the open road, the endless skies out west, loneliness, and the silences that punctuate everyday life.

In 40 short tales, Shepard relies on a sun-puckered, angular style that suits his western landscapes. His narrators dream of epic movie scenes but are trapped in the brittle world of troubled adults. In "A Man's Man," for example, a boy spends a day bucking hay with a tough-guy friend of his father's who ends their labors with an unexpected fondle. The 1950s friends of the boy's parents whirl about in a cycle of liquor, lust, jealousy, and violent outbursts. In pieces that are sometimes impressionistic, and occasionally clearly autobiographical, Shepard recalls meeting Duke Ellington while working as a busboy, crazy speed-freak nights spent as a barge guard on New York's East River, and messing up a job running a backhoe while thinking of a woman. Many stories feature men gone sour over women who've just gone; in these tales, the women grow tired of their lovers' lies, and drinking, and loss of control. Terse dialogues (a defense of cruising the Badlands by car, a justification for the fear of flying) suggest the weight of all the things these characters cannot say. A dozen of the pieces are presented as the dead-on notes of an actor making a film in Mexico (the film sounds remarkably like Voyager, a 1990 feature in which Shepard starred). The actor describes driving to the location in Mexico, his conflicted feelings about the relative luxury in which the film crew lives, getting drunk with a stuntman, and watching NFL football in a local bar. These pieces perfectly capture the real anarchy and tedium of moviemaking.

Even if he weren't a major playwright, Shepard would merit attention for this powerful prose fiction.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679742173
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Pages: 239
  • Sales rank: 391,463
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Sam Shepard has written forty-five plays, twelve of which have won Obie Awards. In 1979 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Buried Child, and in 1984 he gained an Oscar nomination for his performance in The Right Stuff. His screenplay for Paris, Texas won the Golden Palm Award at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, and he wrote and directed the film Far North in 1988. Other plays by Shephard include Curse of the Starving Class, True West, Fool for Love, and A Lie of the Mind. In 1986 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Cruising Paradise is wonderful; another terse, poignant, and sub

    Cruising Paradise is wonderful; another terse, poignant, and subtly brilliant work by Shepard.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2011

    Oy, no!

    Hate short stories and especially cutsie wootsie ones about weird people in wierd places without any real purpose. Boring!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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