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Spy of the First Person, Sam Shepard

Absolute fabulous title. Shepard’s last book before his death in 2017. He revised the book with his family and dictated his final edits a few days before he passed away. It’s an exceptional narrative from an unnamed narrator who dives into his memories and preoccupations of community, immigration, exclusion, suspicion, and trust. The base are stories of those around him whom he loved, the relationships, and the natural world. Though a work of fiction the last days of Shepard’s life - him knowing those days were coming, are ever-present. The same, the narrator knows the more helpless he gets, the more remote he will become. But yet is he seeing all of this? The air still hazy, as if everything may be an accident. Death was on his doorstep, and he wonders if he is watching him. His abilities are gone, and nothing seems to work within himself. He just lies there waiting for someone to find him. And when he looks up at the sky he can smell death getting closer. He reflects on his mid-life, the interim of his life, a fragile time with many different things going on and so many of those different things seemed to matter. And at the time they did, but now realizing they don’t really matter in the span of a life. Life goes on for the narrator as he describes in memory of a woman he knew who died. They came and picked her up. The police went away. The neighbors went back in their houses. A cat ran across the yard… life goes on. His death will be just another death. Shepard knew this too… life goes on.


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