Review: Spy of the First Person – by Sam Shepard

I was perusing the library for something new to read. The one novel that I am reading now isn’t/wasn’t holding my attention, but not enough to give up and move onto something else entirely. I was after something to break up the story. To reinvigorate me.

(image links to source)

As I walked past the “New Fiction” section, I spotted this smallish, gray book sitting among the overly large volume novels. It was an ideal size to read. Quick. Easy. It was the perfect choice to break up my reading I was after.

It took me less than 24 hours of a few minutes of reading here and there for me to finish the story. My first impression: haunting.

Spy of the First Person is written by Sam Shepard, a Pulitzer prize winning contemporary writer (who was also an actor and musician). To this point in time, I had not read anything by him, a fact that I now shall have to correct in the coming years to better understand the reasons for his being regarded in such esteem.  

I don’t believe that this should be labelled as fiction as it is. It seems an inappropriate category compared to the content inside. As each page turns I read the accounts of a man who is almost observing himself from the outside, but also who is well aware of the details of life around him while the days press closer to his passing. He relives stories of his past, of his family, all surrounded by a prose that is beautifully poetic. I often found myself emotional reading through the tales of a man knowingly approaching the last hours of his life.

This is a quick read. But while it is quick, it can be a bit disjointed. To me, that disjointedness worked well to convey the emotions felt by Sam as he wrote this piece. I enjoyed it.

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