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The posthumous victory of Sam Shepard

The writer and filmmaker, who died of ELA in July, took her illness to a book that managed to conclude thanks to the help of her children and singer Patti Smith. ' The spy of the self ' has just been published in the United States

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The posthumous victory of Sam Shepard

On July 27, Sam Shepard succumbed to 73 years of complications arising from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that had been diagnosed two years earlier. Reserved in extreme degree, writer kept in secret his ailment, which almost until end only knew his more close relatives. Author of more than 50 plays with which he won numerous awards, including Pulitzer, Shepard proved to be an inimitable in works like Moon Hawk, Motel Chronicles and crossing paradise, books that drag those who read m to places associated with epic Of road: bars of Truckers, frontier towns, ranches, motels, petrol stations desolate in a crossroads...

Aware that disease he suffered would gradually paralyze him to cause death, Shepard wanted to describe process in a book to which he put title of spy of self. He started working on it early in 2016, taking notes first in a notebook.

More information
  • Sam Shepard dies, actor, director and playwright, at 73 years old
  • "Loneliness is central experience of modern life"

After a few months, when his deterioration prevented him from continuing writing by hand, his daughter Hannah accompanied him to garden of his home in Kentucky, helped him to sit in a rocking chair and left a tape recorder activated next to him. When fatigue overcame him, Shepard asked to disconnect device and his sisters transcribed n recording, which writer reviewed, barely making corrections. The recorder soon became a hindrance, and in final phase, his family opted to transcribe in a paper words that playwright dictated with considerable difficulty. The singer Patti Smith, her closest friend since y met in Seventies, played an important role in giving final form to text, which Shepard reached to give good morning before dying.

One of most overwhelming moments of spy of self (which went on sale in U.S. in seal Knopf on December 5 with title Spy of First Person and has not yet been published in Spanish) arrives before book begins properly , in dedication, that his children were forced to write because Shepard did not have time to do it: "Hannah, Walker and Jesse would like to celebrate life and work of his far and to record immense effort that it meant for him to complete his last book."

The spy of I was presented last week in Saint Ann Warehouse, a New York historical building that once housed a tobacco and that today is a cultural center to which were moved activities that for decades were held in church of same name , in heart of Brooklyn Heights. The place presents a symbolic value: y had a predilection for acting in it musicians related to aestics of Shepard, like Bowie, Lou Reed or Nick Cave. In addition to interpreting topics that evoke shared experiences with Shepard, Patti Smith and or friends of playwright and actor read Fragments of both his posthumous work and last book he published in life, One inside ("I carry Inside"), edited in February with a prologue of singer.

Two voices stripped

The Spy of I is a distillation in pure state of aestics of writer. Two voices are heard: that of an old man suffering from a degenerative disease that is paralyzing him little by little and that of someone "possibly in service of a cryptic agency of detectives", which spies its limited movements. The language is intimate and direct, cryptic at times, although underlying tone is joyful affirmation. Shepard's final prose, with unadorned firmness and neatness, recalls stripping of also playwright and narrator Beckett, one of his first and most lasting influences.

As when dictating it to ir children, volume is as effective read as heard. The scenes come alive with same force. A mysterious old man gives sips to a bottle of bourbon, sitting in a rocking chair, on porch of his house. In an unfolding characteristic of playwright's approach, spy of Self records attentively elusive reflections and feelings of observed individual. Around both characters, essential landscape of desert. From time to time, fleeting bursts of action erupt: a fire in bushes, irregular immigrants persecuted by border patrols, a horse whose gallop cuts dry a shot... The old man who awaits arrival of death is not entirely sure that images he believes to be seeing are real.

In inexorable journey to death, everything is a transfiguration of Scripture: The disposition of almond trees in bloom suggests beauty of Japanese calligraphy. Sam Shepard's latest motel chronicle is a postcard with no room for sentimentality. In one of most shocking scenes, writer evokes moment when his children, Walker and Jesse, come with him to a bar in which an endless windrow of bottles of tequila is aligned. Back home, a gigantic moon illuminates m as y push ir far's wheelchair. In last sentence of this volume of 82 pages, Shepard weighs difficulty of tracing steps of staircase. It is last leg of journey, in which writer knows that no one can accompany him.

Theatre, literature, cinema and even music

Sam Shepard is mostly known as a writer and playwright, although he also worked in film world as an actor, screenwriter and director.

He wrote over 40 plays . With one of m, buried child, won Pulitzer Prize in 1979. The Curse of Hungry class, cowboy's mouth or true West are some of his most celebrated works.

Motel Chronic les , A series of tales between solitary and losing roads, is one of his most well-known books. In Crossing Paradise and Great dream of Paradise Shepard also gars dozens of texts and tales set in deep us. And in Luna Falcon author proposes a mixture of poems, stories, monologues and even literary experiments. All of m are published in Spain by anagram.

His film debut as an actor was in days of heaven. Among his works are also Frances, chosen for Glory (for which he obtained an Oscar nomination as best secondary actor), Steel Magnolias, Pelican Report, Black Hawk shot down, assassination of Jesse James by coward Robert Ford or cold in July.

Shepard's most famous screenplay is Paris, Texas, directed by Wim Wenders. He also wrote those of Zabriskie Point, of Michelangelo Antonioni, Crazy of love, renal and clear or knocking at gates of Heaven, among ors. Directed two films directed two films: Far North and Silent language.

less well known is Shepard's musical facet: In Seventies he played drums in folk group Holy Modal rounders.

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