MOTEL CHRONICLES by Sam Shepard

MOTEL CHRONICLES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Random jottings from the notebooks, 1979-82, of playwright/movie-actor Shepard--in prose and poetry, in first-person and third-person. Among the better fragments are slivers of childhood reminiscence--including moviegoing obsessions (after King Solomon's Mines ""I breathed African dust for days. . . in a town of solid white folk"") and a vivid evocation of a little boy's fascination with his own sleepwalking problem. Also strong: a small profile of Shepard's loner-father, living in the desert; and (by far the longest piece) a harrowing account of the near-fatal stroke, subsequent surgery, and continuing disability of an unnamed household member (perhaps Shepard's mother or mother-in-law). As for the rest, there are vignettes of movie-making, of grungy motelliving, of fatherhood, of on-the-road conversation somewhat akin to that in Shepard's two-man playlets--plus a number of mini-fantasias, one of which is effectively creepy. (""Three people in this town""--two nurses and a man in a blue tuxedo--""keep trying to pass their deaths off onto other people"". . . with death symbolized by an old wicker chair.) And the poetry is for the most part dreadful, especially the self-righteous indictments of movie-folk (""they ooze and call each other 'darlings'. . . their loneliness is covered with grins"")--though one or two pieces are amusing. Minor snippets with only flickers of power, but students of Shepard's plays may appreciate the autobiographical angles.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1983
ISBN: 0872861430
Publisher: City Lights