Spy of the First Person draws comparisons to the work Samuel Beckett

Sam Shepard‘s final work, Spy of the First Person, has been published this week by Knopf. In an early review for USA TodayJocelyn McClurg describes it as ‘an autobiographical work of fiction’ with a “fragmentary, disjointed narrative”. McClurg goes on to offer a pithy summary suggesting a debt to the Irish writer, Samuel Beckett, calling Shepard’s novel ‘Waiting for Godot in the desert.’

Such a comparison is perhaps inevitable. Shepard has long cited Beckett’s work as a key influence on his own. In a tribute published in The New Yorker, writer and musician Patti Smith remembers that Shepard ‘loved Beckett, and had a few pieces of writing, in Beckett’s own hand, framed in the kitchen, along with pictures of his kids.’ While the influence is doubtlessly present, in this case the Beckett comparison is also a shorthand for a pared down style that addresses essential themes of life, death, language, and ageing.”

Source: RhysTranter.com

Posted by:Rhys Tranter

Rhys Tranter is a writer based in Cardiff, Wales, UK. He is the author of Beckett's Late Stage (2018), and his work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, and a number of books and periodicals. He holds a BA, MA, and a PhD in English Literature. His website RhysTranter.com is a personal journal offering commentary and analysis across literature, film, music, and the arts.

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