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Publisher's Summary

The final work from the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, actor, and musician, drawn from his transformative last days

In searing, beautiful prose, Sam Shepard's extraordinary narrative has tremendous immediacy and power. It tells in a brilliant braid of voices the story of an unnamed narrator who traces, before our rapt ears, his memories of work, adventure, and travel as he undergoes medical tests and treatments for a condition that is rendering him more and more dependent on the loved ones who are caring for him.

The narrator's memories and preoccupations often echo those of our current moment - for here are stories of immigration and community, inclusion and exclusion, suspicion and trust. But at the book's core, and his, is family - his relationships with those he loved and with the natural world around him.

Vivid, haunting, and deeply moving, Spy of the First Person takes us from the sculpted gardens of a renowned clinic in Arizona to the blue waters surrounding Alcatraz, from a New Mexico border town to a condemned building on New York City's Avenue C. It is an unflinching expression of the vulnerabilities that make us human - and an unbound celebration of family and life.

©2017 Sam Shepard (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Snares with virtuoso precision both nature's constant vibrancy and the stop-action of illness. Told in short takes pulsing with life and rueful wit.... Offers acid commentary on episodes in American history, and revels in the resonance of words.... A gorgeously courageous and sagacious coda to Shepard's innovative and soulful body of work." (Donna Seaman, Booklist)
"A sharply observed, slender novel set in familiar Shepard territory: a dusty, windblown West of limitless horizons and limited means of escape.... Offers arresting portent.... It's exactly of a piece with True West and other early Shepard standards, and one can imagine Shepard himself playing the part of that old man in an understated, stoical film.... In the end, this is a story less of action than of mood, and that mood is overwhelmingly, achingly melancholic. The story is modest, the poetry superb. A most worthy valediction." ( Kirkus Reviews)

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  • Row Z
  • 14-11-2020

Sam Shepard's observations living/dying with ALS

Breathtaking and solemn listening to Sam Shepard's inner voice observe his deteriorating body from ALS. The last entry is from a few days before his death. My ears are wide open to the thoughts of someone facing their approaching death. What can I learn? What can I know before I get there. I was left with the sadness knowing Shepard's life ended.

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  • Natalie J. Belle MD
  • 28-12-2017

Good Insight

Interesting work with thought-provoking descriptions by Shepard as Shepard does extremely well. Enjoyable listen.

2 people found this helpful

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