Book Review: Great Dreams of
by Sam Shepard
By Antoine du Rocher
YORK, 7 December 2002—Great Dreams of Heaven is
the second collection of short stories by Sam Shepard.
Pulitzer Prize playwright and actor has a fine ear and manifestly
enjoys evoking the white, rural working-class of the American Midwest
where men are "shit-faced drunk" and "off runnin'
pussy," and eat tuna melt among other regional specialties.
past the entertainment, however, one becomes aware of the emotional
desolation and vulnerability of Shepard's characters. In fact, their
geographical isolation is often a metaphor for an opressive, emotional
isolation, where obsession, secretiveness, sex and a peculiar
mean-spiritedness sometimes take root amidst already staggering
Moreover, there is an existential
creepiness that haunts several of these short tales, in contrast to
livelier, albeit tough genre scenes that sometimes carry an
unambiguous message of Protestant morality, spirituality or, in one
tale, sexual awakening.
For outsiders, Shepard's characters
may seem as exotic (and remote) as the Bedouin inhabitants of an
Egyptian oasis. Still, for those attracted to American gothic, this
collection of eighteen stories offers pleasure, humour and thoughts
Dream of Heaven: Stories
by Sam Shepard
Alfred A. Knopf, New York (15 October 2002)
Antoine du Rocher is a French
cultural journalist and writer based in New York. He is also a member
of the editorial board of Culturekiosque.com
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