Synopses & Reviews
n these eighteen elegantly terse stories, Sam Shepard taps the same wellsprings that have made him one of our most acclaimed—and distinctly American—playwrights: sex and regret, the yearning for a frontier that has been subdivided out of existence, the comic gulf of misapprehension between men and women, and the even deeper gulf that separates men from their true selves.
A fascinated boy watches the grim contest between a "remedy man"—a fixer of bad horses—and a spectacularly bad-tempered stallion, a contest that mirrors the boy’s own struggle with his father. A suburban husband starts his afternoon shopping for basil for a party and ends it holding one of the guests at gunpoint in the basement. Two old men, who have lived together companionably since their wives died or left them and their children scattered to “silicon computer hell,” are brought to grief by a waitress at the local Denny’s.
Filled with absurdity, sorrow, and flinty humor, Great Dream of Heaven is Shepard at his best, exercising his gifts for diamond-sharp physical description and effortless dialogue in stories that recall the themes he has explored with such singular intensity in his work for the theater.
About the Author
Sam Shepard is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of more than forty-five plays as well as the story collection Cruising Paradise and two volumes of prose pieces, Motel Chronicles and Hawk Moon. As an actor he has appeared in more than twenty-five films, and he received an Oscar nomination in 1984 for his performance in The Right Stuff. His screenplay for Paris, Texas won the Golden Palm Award at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, and he wrote and directed the film Far North in 1988. Shepard’s plays, eleven of which have won Obie Awards, include Buried Child, The Late Henry Moss, Simpatico, Curse of the Starving Class, True West, Fool for Love, and A Lie of the Mind, which won a New York Drama Desk Award. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Shepard received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy in 1992, and in 1994 he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. He lives in Minnesota.