Day Out of Days
By Sam Shepard
Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780307277824, 282pp.
Publication Date: February 8, 2011
List Price: $15.00*
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From one of our most acclaimed writers: a collection of tales set mainly in the American West, written with the terse lyricism, cinematic detail, and wry humor that have become Sam Shepard’s trademarks.
A man traveling down Highway 90 West gets trapped alone overnight inside a Cracker Barrel restaurant, where he is tormented by an endless loop of Shania Twain songs. A wandering actor returns to his hometown and runs into an old friend, who recounts their teenage days of stealing cars, buying Benzedrine, and sleeping with whores in Tijuana. A Minnesota couple and their children, traveling south for vacation, are so caught up in the ordinary dramas of family life that they remain oblivious to the beauty of the Yucatan peninsula. Stunning, inventive, and powerful, these stories are Shepard at his flinty-eyed, unwavering best.
“[Shepard] drills down through the strata of our history into the bedrock of American myth.”—Walter Kirn, The New York Times Book Review
“Expansive and rich. . . . With scenarios that are at once unbearable and irresistible, Shepard casts a predictably haunting spell.” —USA Today
“Gorgeous. . . . Searing. . . . Shepard beautifully records the overlooked, strange places men find themselves, both physically and emotionally.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Sharp enough to move a reader to tears. . . . Funny and smart. . . . Profoundly satisfying. . . . The narrator talks out his conflicts . . . with great precision and beauty.” —The Boston Globe
“Expansive, panoramic. Like Bob Dylan, Shepard is a geographer of the rawboned surrealism of America’s shadow interior, story after story bearing the name of a town or highway, our national portrait dabbed with a thousand points of darkness.” –James Wolcott, Vanity Fair
“These stories [have a] deep, abiding appeal.” –The Los Angeles Times
“This is Shepard’s brilliance—the ability to continually surprise us. He plays with our heads, pushes boundaries, and in the end makes the journey worthwhile.” –The Denver Post
“Shepard [is] one of the most lavishly gifted, prolific artists of his generation.” –The Plain Dealer
“These deceptively modest works, reflective and witty, explode with fresh energy. Their touches of absurdity give way to a depth of emotional loss that will sneak up and wring your heart dry. [Sam Shepard] is still a star, still a treasure….It takes an eternally young genius like Shepard to make us laugh and wonder.” –The Daily Beast
“Shepard’s talent and bent for language is what drives the book. The rhythms. The precision of the words. His instincts on when to give and when to hold back. All together, these pieces take us on a road trip of America, before dropping us off inside ourselves.” –The Providence Journal
“His literary voice….[is] strong, unpretentious, and singular….He writes with the kind of authority that makes you believe—and with the kind of depth that makes you think.” –Elle.com
“Mournfully funny….Well-observed….As a collection of tiny jewels of language unearthed with great care by a man with a uniquely American voice, it’s unlike anything else.” –The A.V. Club
“Read [it] the way the faithful may read their Bibles: a few verses nightly to serve as inspiration, and a shield from despair.” –The L Magazine
“No one writes like Shepard or better captures the fallout from American myths: of freedom, entitlement and masculinity.” –The Post and Courier
“Powerfully entertaining.” –Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Gripping and elusive at the same time….Dark and weirdly funny….There’s something about Shepard that invites awe. Sam Shepard is Samuel Beckett as Marlboro Man….Readers of Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy, Jim Harrison and Thomas McGuane will recognize the type.” –The Hartford Advocate
“Always there’s the tremendous poetry of Shepard’s language.” –The Oregonian
“Moving….Again and again, we find in Day out of Days, everything in life is a mystery; the road to answers, or even a satisfying sense of place, never ends.” –Chicago Sun Times