Wow, Sam Shepard writes amazing dialogue. And – wow, does he write terrible prose. Good thing he’s better known as a playwright, because that seems like exactly what he naturally should be. Some of the all-dialogue scenes are so well-rendered and beautiful that they could break your heart. Some of the prose could also break your heart, but in the bad way – a lot of awkwardsness and not very much that is innovative or special.I should have known this going into the book since I borrowed it from Ben, who told me that the book was “one act plays masquerading as short stories.” He had even read me two of the stories out loud a few months ago – or, rather, he read them to me outloud to me while skipping all of the prose parts. And those two stories were very, very good and worked very well aurally. I mean, it made me want to read the rest of the book.
In the end, for me, someone who sux at writing dialogue – who is often times paralyzed by writing dialogue – this is a great book to keep around the house and return to when I need a little instruction or inspiration.