on May 28, 1999
Through Cruising Paradise the voice of Sam Shepard kept me company during a week or two. I read his fragmented stories before falling asleep and felt at ease. I think it's the way he uses the language; lucid, clear, to the point, intense. The language flows and takes you to the images of endless roads, wide open spaces and the people who live there or just drive through it . You can feel the heat, you can hear the conversations, while all the time, in the back of your head Shepards voice leads you. He doesn't describe the situations in very much detail, he just lets the people talk, or think and that's enough. Wonderful experience. I believe it is the art of leaving out, to show what's there, in language and in imagery. Hope to find this again.
on April 5, 1999
While reading this book, I had to stop more than a few times either to catch my breath or close my eyes and let what I just read sink in. I grew up down on the Mexican border, and Shepard's descriptions of events in that part of the world rang true, and were written in a terse manner, as is appropriate for the setting and characters. Brilliant.
on July 30, 2002
Cruising Paradise is a lean muscular book. The writing is sometimes brutal and always powerful. His writing is reminiscent of Hemingway and Jim Harrison, but with a Southwestern flair and a stronger sense of immediacy. It is not the plots or so much the characters in the story that drive the book, but the sense of movement and restlessness in the stories peppered with stoicism that make his stories so interesting. His stories seem to be autobiographical, even those he clearly passes off as fiction. Recommended stories in the book are Nuevo Mundo, A Small Company of Friends, and Cruising Paradise. If you are sick of reading books that seemed contrived or cliche' give this one a look.
on September 19, 1996
A collection of 40 or so short stories, vignettes, and diary entries. Some no more than half a page, but each is a beautiful unique brushstroke. The brushstrokes, when viewed alone, reveal the exposed emotions of a variety of male characters. Combined, they create a graphic painting of the raw and sometimes complex emotions of the American male. Many of the tales are so revealing that you will find yourself re-reading them in awe of their beauty in simplicity. Like any true short story artist, Sam Shepard can create a complex story while maintaining an economy with words. The result is unique, suprising, and constantly rewarding
on January 1, 2007
I found this book around the house, no idea who bought it or when, and read it over the last week in bits before falling asleep, or waiting in the car, then finishing the last 100 pages this afternoon.
Sam Shepard tells the kind of stories we all wish we had experienced - acting in movies, serious action, funny exploits, deep emotions. Lots of surprising twists, the narrator often detaches himself from the callow preoccupations of lesser mortals.
The brevity of some of the tales and the lack of continuity are offset by the continuing exposure of novel incidents and thoughts. It reminded me of sitting in front of a TV and flipping through the channels.
It was good enough that I ordered more Shepard writing from Amazon.
on August 30, 1997
The characters in Sam Shepard's Cruising Paradise are all sad and/or tragic figures. It is refreshing to read material that represents people not normally found in modern fiction. You can hear the voices of the protagonists in your head as they speak from the page (not surprisingly, they all sound much like Sam Shepard himself). The men in Cruising Paradise are all of a specific type - the idea of the Western or "man's man" is realistic. These characters all are trying to get a handle on how to be that specific type of person and often come up short. Sam Shepard's voice is poetic and passionate in a stand-offish way, but extremely true to character
on December 7, 1997
By selecting just the right every-day words, Shepard latches onto the simple joys of life that we often overlook as live them. His observations resonate with our own experiences. From the hilarious chaos of the film shoot in the Mexican jungle, to the beautiful mismatch of cultures among the football spectators, Shepard asks us, "Ain't life grand?" and shows us why it is. I listened to the audio cassettes (masterfully read by the author) twice already, and plan to listen to them again whenever I need my faith in literature and life restored.
on January 1, 1998
When we're constantly being sold substandard rubbish from ... ( you know who the usual suspects are) here's a writer worthy of the title. And he's not even someone who we know for his short stories. The writing here conjures up the subjects vividly and mysteriously, hinting at the spiritual resonance of the every day, much as do the best of Robert Frost's poems. Some of the dialgues manage to catch the cadences of the venacular with the same precision as Damon Runyon or James Elroy but with a genuine poetic reach. Simply marvelous.
on September 29, 1998
What can I say! This is simply the best book I've ever read! Shepard's short stories strike you right in the hart in a way other authors only can dream about. Who can for example ever forget about the boy with his drunken father in the desert, or the actor who travels by car from L.A. down to the djungles of Mexico? No other author I have read have so completly spellbound me before, and I have read all of the so called great authors. One can only hope that the Nobel foundation discovers the greatness in Shepard.
on February 24, 2014
Great read. Sam Shepard explores a world with a hint of magic under the influence of grit and textured story-telling.