Shepard’s most recent Oedipus-centered play, [book:A Particle of Dread|31147621], was predictably unpopular and taxing to read. That is not to say this dramatic work offers proof of Shepard’s decline. His plays have generally been a bit annoyingly crude and sometimes obtuse. But for years Shepard has continued to suit up and show up, and he follows his muse wherever it takes him. A long career now of writing and acting has shared his life with other demanding physical movements including raising horses and playing music in a band. And because of what impels him to do what it is he does, Shepard’s personal life has often given sway. Taken as a whole, and after having read most everything Sam Shepard has written as well as viewing the bulk of his better ventures into acting, it is understandable that his powers would one day wane and be judged as “in decline”. But the seventy-two year old man remains a force to be reckoned with; a persona of American Midwest greatness and, in addition, a sad and angry Western cowboy bent on eventually breaking himself.
John Winters has written an honest and comprehensive account of Sam Shepard. This intensive look, both inside and outside, of a man’s long career and life, is obviously well-informed and researched. A necessary book added to a still-growing oeuvre. And for those interested, a serious attempt to understand a man who has remained for many an American enigma.