The playwright and actor Sam Shepard
died of complications from ALS last year. He leaves behind a final work, composed and transcribed with the assistance of family and friends. Spy of the First Person
is both bleak and poetic. The slim novella is stripped of adornment, the prose is spare and haunting, and its themes are familiar to Shepard’s previous work. Not surprisingly, the story echoes the truth of the author’s predicament, even as the disease is only referenced obliquely. Echoing the somber, minimalist work of Samuel Beckett
, Shepard’s swan song is the culmination of a cryptic voice, one that confronts its mortality through the expression of the fragments of life lived, seen and ended.