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August 27, 2019


Sam Shepard….his last book

by N@ncy



  1. Final work from Pulitzer Prize winning writer S. Shepard.
  2. An unnamed narrator traces his memories of work
  3. adventure, travel, family and friends.
  4. This last work is a brilliant self-observation
  5. as Shepard struggles with his fatal disease.
  6. Sam Shepard started writing this in 2016 after diagnosis ALS.
  7. He wrote…
  8. …later when he was no longer able to hold a pen
  9. …he recorded and dictated the final editing just days before he died.
  10. Sam Shepard died on 27 July 2017.


What is it like to know the end is near
…and you write your last piece of prose?

  1. Shepard lets his mind roam where his body no longer can go.
  2. He frequently addresses his children to tell them some family history
  3. …and how he feels as a father.


What was the most moving  part of the book for me?   chapter 14

  1. “I’m not trying to prove that
  2. I was the father you believed me to be when you were very young.
  3. I’ve made some mistakes but
  4. I have no idea what they were.
  5. And I’ve never desired to start over again.
  6. I have no desire to eliminate parts of myself.
  7. I have no desire.”



  1. Shepard’s children decided to dedicate this book
  2. “In Memory of Sam”



  1. To understand the book I first studied the structure.
  2. The chapters alternate between 2 people.
  3. 26 chapters POV unnamed narrator (…very sick man, Shepard)
  4. 11 chapters POV unnamed neighbor from across the street
  5. …who ‘spys’ on the sick man.  (…probably Shepard outside himself)
  6. Shephard is stepping away from himself for the last time
  7. ….and taking the long view.



  1. This book may not be for everybody but
  2. I am a Sam Shepard fan
  3. …and my heartbreaks  reading his last words.
  4. It is a moving work of autobiographical fiction. (96 pages)
  5. It packs a punch.
  6. There are things Shepard wants to say
  7. …. and he knows it’s now or never.


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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 27 2019

    Confession time – I’ve never actually read any of Sam Shepard’s work though always meant to! While this sounds like a powerful book am guessing it’s not the place to start – any recommendations for Shepard books I should try first?!


    • Aug 27 2019

      Col, TRUE WEST is a great play to start.
      Pulitzer Prize-winner Sam Shepard’s classic comedy is a story of estranged brothers Austin and Lee. Shepard compares and contrasts the reality of the two brothers by forcing them to come to terms with each other, with themselves. It is a fast play…tit-for-tat…blow for blow between 2 brothers. I read the play and found listening to it (1,5 hr) via Audible the best way to go.



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  1. #TBR 2018 update 26.08.2019 | NancyElin

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