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The One Inside

Cover of The One Inside

The One Inside

A Novel
Borrow Borrow
The first work of long fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright—a tour de force of memory, mystery, death, and life.

This searing, extraordinarily evocative narrative opens with a man in his house at dawn, surrounded by aspens, coyotes cackling in the distance as he quietly navigates the distance between present and past. More and more, memory is overtaking him: in his mind he sees himself in a movie-set trailer, his young face staring back at him in a mirror surrounded by light bulbs. In his dreams and in visions he sees his late father—sometimes in miniature, sometimes flying planes, sometimes at war. By turns, he sees the bygone America of his childhood: the farmland and the feedlots, the railyards and the diners—and, most hauntingly, his father's young girlfriend, with whom he also became involved, setting into motion a tragedy that has stayed with him. His complex interiority is filtered through views of mountains and deserts as he drives across the country, propelled by jazz, benzedrine, rock and roll, and a restlessness born out of exile. The rhythms of theater, the language of poetry, and a flinty humor combine in this stunning meditation on the nature of experience, at once celebratory, surreal, poignant, and unforgettable.
With a foreword written and read by Patti Smith
The first work of long fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright—a tour de force of memory, mystery, death, and life.

This searing, extraordinarily evocative narrative opens with a man in his house at dawn, surrounded by aspens, coyotes cackling in the distance as he quietly navigates the distance between present and past. More and more, memory is overtaking him: in his mind he sees himself in a movie-set trailer, his young face staring back at him in a mirror surrounded by light bulbs. In his dreams and in visions he sees his late father—sometimes in miniature, sometimes flying planes, sometimes at war. By turns, he sees the bygone America of his childhood: the farmland and the feedlots, the railyards and the diners—and, most hauntingly, his father's young girlfriend, with whom he also became involved, setting into motion a tragedy that has stayed with him. His complex interiority is filtered through views of mountains and deserts as he drives across the country, propelled by jazz, benzedrine, rock and roll, and a restlessness born out of exile. The rhythms of theater, the language of poetry, and a flinty humor combine in this stunning meditation on the nature of experience, at once celebratory, surreal, poignant, and unforgettable.
With a foreword written and read by Patti Smith
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About the Author-
  • SAM SHEPARD is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than fifty-five plays and three story collections. As an actor, he has appeared in more than sixty films, and received an Oscar nomination in 1984 for The Right Stuff. He was a finalist for the W. H. Smith Literary Award for his story collection Great Dream of Heaven. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy, and has been inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 23, 2017
    In the longest work of fiction to date from the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright, an aged actor moves through his fragmented memories of his father, the young girl who loved him, and the vast American landscape that served as a backdrop to it all. Following a poignant foreword by Patti Smith, each successive chapter of the novel flits among times and forms: there are poetic reminiscences of the actor’s ex-wife, and terse all-dialogue conversations between him and the lover intending to blackmail him. Coloring those dynamics are flashbacks to the actor’s complicated relationship with Felicity, his father’s underage girlfriend, who also comes to take the actor’s virginity. Mixed amongst these grounding story lines are vivid scenes of his father’s death, drug fantasies, and vague meditations on sex and death. The last section of the book concerns Felicity’s disappearance and apparent suicide, an event that deepens and bonds every moment that precedes it. Though some of the writing feels like leftovers from discarded drafts of books and plays, much of the content remains striking and memorable, illustrative of what makes Shepard’s work so arresting on the screen and the page.

  • AudioFile Magazine The gravelly voice of narrator Bill Pullman sets the mood for this introspective monologue of an aging actor who dreams of his late father and contemplates the women who remain vivid in his memory. Pullman finds the soul of this short novel, pulling out the rhythm of the prose, transforming it to poetry. The language is striking and sparse, reminiscent of theater directions, and highlights the protagonist's tangle of recalled events and truths: his father's affair with a young woman, movie set moments, a marriage gone wrong, the sounds of the desert. Don't expect a straightforward plot--the beauty of this audiobook is in Shepard's words and Pullman's performance. An extra treat for listeners is author-musician Patti Smith's deft reading of her insightful foreword. C.B.L. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The One Inside
The One Inside
A Novel
Sam Shepard
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