Read The One Inside by Sam Shepard Online


An extraordinary work of long fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright — a tour de force of memory, mystery, death, and life.Sam Shepard's searing, evocative narrative opens with a man in his house at dawn, surrounded by aspens and by coyotes cackling far away as he quietly navigates the distance between present and past. More and more, memory is overtaking him:An extraordinary work of long fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright — a tour de force of memory, mystery, death, and life.Sam Shepard's searing, evocative narrative opens with a man in his house at dawn, surrounded by aspens and by coyotes cackling far away 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 lightbulbs. 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 rail yards 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....

Title : The One Inside
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780451494580
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 172 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The One Inside Reviews

  • Trish
    2018-11-02 20:29

    This gorgeously-conceived and -written memoir is simply delicious to hear. Bill Pullman reads it, sounding so much like Shepard’s remembered craggy, crusty voice crossing the ranges of a human heart on its journey from teen to seventy years. He is sly, self-serving, and somehow sincere, still sexy, selective, remembering his father’s young mistress, confusing us and himself about when he eventually becomes his father (now “one year older than his father was when he died”) and when any indiscretions become his own."…forty years of movie sets….a great blue heron waiting for a frog to rise… the wind moans through the aspens…and Nabokov says the reason he writes is ‘aesthetic bliss’…"Patti Smith, Shepard’s long time friend and one-time lover, writes the Foreword and she claims the memoir is both “him, sort of him, and not him at all,” containing “altered perspectives, lucid memory, and hallucinatory impressions.” Reading it, we think we know what might be real and what will always be desire. He is a man of a certain age, one foot in the grave and one hand on his genitals; his descriptions of the twenty-something wearing a pink frilly skirt, sitting straight up, knees together, her spine not touching the back of the chair, recall to us hunger, sharp smells, flavor, and oh yes, something the old man had never forgotten….his first lover, the red-haired Felicity, his father’s fourteen-year-old lover.Nabokov is heralded at the beginning, and his fantastic mental contortions are mirrored throughout the naughty little remembrance of an old man romancing a pretty young thing adrift, his Blackmail Girl. She is not as young as his father’s jailbait and he is older than his father but still working in film. Descriptions of what the production team does to ‘authenticate’ a film in production is impressive and maybe even wasteful and unnecessary. Extravagant, certainly. It is absorbing to hear the details interspersed with his little problem—pretending the little miss accompanying him is friend rather than prey."[Feelings about her] were like warm water running down my back."Comfortable, pleasurable, and maybe not so dangerous. Certainly not wrong. Well, maybe…was it wrong?…what about Felicity? Felicity, we see at the end, was clearly too young. Shepard recalls the name of one of the world’s great prose stylists, Heinrich von Kleist, who is known also for his double suicide in 1811 with a married female friend who was dying of uterine cancer, so she wouldn’t have to die alone. This book details the metamorphosis of a man, once a boy who, like Felicity, was too young, innocent, shocked by what his body wants and what his mind does, not grousing, not explaining, just writing…describing life through language, lush, foxy, exact, observant…just look, he says, just…listen."Who knows what is real anyway?"We chart, as Patti Smith suggests, the “shifting core of the narrator,” from boy to man, from uncertainty to awareness, from innocence to culpability. He was always “confused and amused by women” but in senescence seeks to grasp a moment, a feeling, a memory. Literature, language, and its portrayal in film or on stage, has been his work for forty years. He may be winding down, but this he can still do: write with clarity, dreams or memories or lies or wishes or denials. This may be a memoir, but who’s to say the memories of an old man aren’t half fiction?I loved this work. Shepard always read a lot of books but famous writers like Mailer, Capote, or Nabokov confused him. Shepard knew what was important, and stashed language like memory, in red naugahyde suitcases, ready to be pulled out in wonderment years later, and used to describe this world of his, or ours. He may be an ordinary man (who knows?), but he has extraordinary skill. This is a special, wonderful, joyful, ugly, painful look at our past century, a western landscape, and a man in it. “Good enough for a book.”I excerpted a portion of the audiobook, produced by Penguin Random House Audio, on my blog.

  • Ron Charles
    2018-11-07 12:28

    After watching a half-century of his legendary coolness, you either believe that 73-year-old Sam Shepard has the right stuff or you don’t. Aside from his steely performance in dozens of movies and TV shows, he’s the author of almost 50 plays, including his Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, “Buried Child” (1979), which should be remembered as one of the greatest dramas of the 20th century. He’s got nothing more to prove.And yet now, “The One Inside ” is being hyped as Shepard’s “first work of long fiction,” though it’s not particularly long nor entirely fictional. Fans of his short stories and autobiographical writings will hear echoes of. . . . To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:

  • Lark Benobi
    2018-11-05 20:43

    The foreword by Patti Smith was incomprehensible, which forewarned me that the book itself, when I got to it, would be unusual. Smith was trying hard to channel the rhythm and slant-ness of Shepard's writing, and failed. Her attempt, though, points out the difficulty of saying anything definitive about what Shepard has written here.The experience of reading Shepard's prose was so interesting. The words I was reading evoked strong memories in me of things I hadn't thought about for years, and that had nothing to do with the words on the page. I gave up trying to understand exactly what was going on. The strange jittering fragmentation of the story, with its many guilt-laden meanders into regret for the past, carried me into meanings that might not have had anything to do with what the author wrote.

  • Lori
    2018-10-21 20:24

    Perfect pairing of author and narrator. This book, you guys. On Audio. Go. Get it. Now.

  • Claire Fuller
    2018-10-26 13:34

    Beautiful prose, but too fragmentary to really be a novel, or even short stories. The mood is very evocative, dream-like, obscure, and sometimes in the slightly longer sections this really worked for me, but then something very short would cut in, and my mind would want to try to sort it out, where it fitted in the narrative. Perhaps I should have been able to just let go and have it wash over me like poetry, but that didn't work either. Interesting, but not

  • Ron S
    2018-10-22 13:31

    Something between a collection of vignettes, surrealism, short story and thinly veiled memoir that stretches in time from a boy of 13 to a man of 70. Atmospheric and haunting.

  • Bert
    2018-11-02 13:34

    Sam is one of the greats, so you know what to expect here. Greatness. This is a scattered work that jumps around in time, mixes memoir and fiction, these little vignettes mostly focusing on women and being a loner that needs's sometimes a fine line between wanting to go c'mon Sam don't act so bewildered when you're nailing a 20 year-old in your 70s, but then y'know what? We should just be grateful for his continued devotion to his art, his generosity in portraying himself as true and flawed and cool as he clearly is, and just plough through the first few chapters here and trust that he knows what he's doing, which he does. I really liked this novel, its unexpected little references to books and tv and music, that sense of being old and being young, its confidence to stay small and specific, and its innate sense of self. Plus the jacket and book itself is very beautiful.

  • Sian Lile-Pastore
    2018-11-16 16:26

    Great writing is just great. I love Sam Shepard so much. Is this fiction or did he have lotsa affairs that drove Jessica Lange away? Gosh.He drinks a lot of coffee in this book which I liked. It's kind of a bit dreamy and fiction/memoir. I loved it.

  • Shaun
    2018-10-30 14:40

    Not quite sure what to make of this book. Is it the rough outline for a new semi-autobiographical play? Or is it a "treatment" for a movie sorta, kinda about the author? Or is it a long short story or novelette about a particularly telling portion of Sam Shepard's somewhat tortured life as he advances toward his inevitable demise? Either way, it's pretty darn good reading. The writing is done in short staccato Hemingwayesque bursts much like the Brazilian single shot .410 caliber rifle the semi-fictional character --"The Man With No Name" -- shoots at the raccoon who, like some macabre trickster deity, digs through the trash cans of the writer's memory.Far smarter minds than mine have some what condemned this book because of its raunchy, Nabokov-like, licentiousness themes and the weird surrealism surrounding the death and odd miniaturization of the main character's father. Yes. There is something elementally Oedipal about their father-son relationship. And his father's nubian underaged girlfriend, curiously known as "Felicity," could represent "the one true love of his life who got away" or the author's lament for ill-spent youth, lost opportunity and what not. But I tend to chalk that up to Greco dramatis to give this novelette a peculiar tension. No. I am more interested in the "one inside" "The Man With No Name" whom we all know is the actor Sam Shepard, a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright.So what's this all about? In the chapter entitled "Black Hole" he gives the reader a pretty clear hint when he muses about a "colored mural of Kublai Khan and his vast, opulent hunting party" with a menagerie of beasts above the mahogany headboard of a king-sized bed the author/actor borrows while filming "August: Osage County":"A kind of 'day in the life' of Kublai Khan. Some mind invention woven to capture the imagination down through time. As though time were a spiral. As though the ancient past could be conveniently held in your hand. All at once."Such are the musings of the unnamed character that Patti Smith describes in the Foreword so eloquently as "a loner who doesn't want to be alone, grappling with the incubus, a rippling of nocturnal waters, the nausea of unending nights."Sam Shepard's acting and writing style reflect a wounded soul who just witnessed a catastrophic train wreck called his own life. A living, breathing embodiment of shell shock and PTSD, if you will, who sees the doors in the long, narrow hallway of his life slamming shut. Wasn't it Soren Kierkegaard who said, "Life can only be understood looking backward, but must be lived going forward"? While "The One Inside" may be "him, sort of him, not him at all," it does compel this reader to search for more artistic work by Sam Shepard; both in the visual and written format. It narrowly missed five (5) solid stars here because I believe that Sam Shepard's best literary work lies ahead of him and not behind him, if only he would learn to forgive himself for his past abandonment, marital infidelity and moral misdeeds and write the magnum opus yearning to be set free from the clutches of the "One Inside".A tip of the hat to Trish for turning me on to this exceptionally well-written book replete with linguistic visuals that will not soon leave me. My only regret is the I did not recommend this novelette to the "Gentlemen" of the Second Tuesday of the Month Book Club in June of this year whom would assuredly mine this work of all or most of its literary gems. Oh well, like the author, I'll live to love and fight another day. It truly 'tis a great reading life.

  • Samantha
    2018-11-14 15:22

    Shepard's writing is magical, I love him. He writes magic. And he writes feelings. I. Love. Him.

  • Annie Larussa
    2018-11-08 14:34

    I found the wandering format of this book hard to follow. I never really got into the characters. But Shepard's descriptions of places were beautiful. I could imagine Shepard writing this book, as someone who so appreciates his plays, I could hear Shepard's voice. But the story kept falling apart for me.

  • Lily
    2018-11-16 12:31

    Jumping and dream-ridden and bordering on incomprehensible in terms of a linear narrative, this is a dizzying and heartbroken descent into a sad masculinity, haunted by various phantom women, with a nice taste of magical realism (headless horses flying out of mouths, shrunken fathers carried around by a pack of gangsters, etc.). Characters and time, come and go, things disappear and reappear. The inconclusiveness of anything in the story makes it purely experiential and it's a weird and quick experience. The perspective is embedded in this beatnik-reminiscent masculinity that can be obnoxious and overwrought in its own confusion and blurriness, which simultaneously can also be some of the best parts of this book."Was it the anywhere else in the world? Weren't American ideas like 'education' 'trade' 'earning a living' still indelibly implanted in the psyche somewhere? Was being born having to be enlisted in a destiny?"

  • Marcia Aldrich
    2018-11-13 13:28

    Wish I could say I liked this book. I wanted to, was prepared to, but wasn't. I'm fine with fragmentary works, even fine with works that falsely label themselves as fiction, as this one does. But I couldn't help think this book would never have been published if it wasn't written by Shepard, that his reputation and fame dictated its being published. And that insecurity about its quality was betrayed by having the much loved Patti smith introduce it.

  • Kevin Adams
    2018-11-10 15:30

    Sam Shepard has an amazing way for words. His plays give us a different world and The One Inside, his first full novel (hard to believe he hasn't written one before) gives us individual glimpses of the lives of the unnamed narrator and his father over decades. They felt like tiny vignettes of these lives and would make an outstanding play. Beautiful structure and language.

  • Michael
    2018-10-17 17:38

    Shepard has created a a world of memories, rendered in disparate and dissociated recollections, dreams, hallucinations, conversations, etc. The various storylines dissolve into each other creating a seemingly otherworldly view of the instability of his relationships.

  • Dave
    2018-10-31 19:17

    The writing is beautiful. The sentence structure unique. The story, meh.

  • patty
    2018-10-27 14:44

    Rest in Love, Sam Shepard 1943-2017

  • Jen
    2018-11-03 20:34

    I'd like to amend my original review below, which I now think is reductive and shallow. This book has stayed with me and haunted me, much like Sam Shepard's early work. He's a great talent, and I didn't give that its due. I haven't read anything by him for a couple of decades now, but I am going to.*****I had a huge crush on Sam Shepard when I was in my 20s. I read the anthologies of plays with his sexy face on the cover and saw Buried Child on Broadway. Jessica Lange had been involved with both Mikhail Baryshnikov and Sam Shepard, which I'd thought an astounding feat. Now, she's about 50 years too old for him — this pick-up driving, mezcal-drinking, worm-eating, 73-year-old who spends most of his memoir telling us about his 20-year-old lover, Blackmail Girl. Twenty year olds have fully developed breasts, which Blackmail Girl does not, so I suppose she's even younger. He tells us about Felicity, his father's teenage sex-thing, with whom he - as a teen - also had sloppy, noisy sex. Blackmail Girl was on the set of August, Osage County, naked but for purple toe nail polish and a toe ring; the crew was uncomfortable. This is Sam Shepard now. That Patti Smith respects him is something of a saving grace.But wait. I gave it four stars. He's still got it, somehow. The manly-man, love-em-and-can't-leave-em thing. He pretends, though: "I know you have a habit of discarding women," the Girl says to him, "But you'll never get rid of me." It's he who tells us he discards them. I've got a primal attraction for his brand of insane dichotomy - the loner who loves to be seduced. He also drops references to Kurasawa, and writes damned smart prose. Dreams of miniature saran-wrapped deceased dad are unsettling, but without the demons the book would lose necessary depth and dimension, and they are nostalgically reminiscent of creepy parts past. The NYT Book Review says this is a memoir, but I see that this page calls it fiction. Since the Times used the term post-modern - AKA, kiss of death - I suppose it's up for grabs.For longtime fans only. I can't imagine an introduction to a 73-year-old man this way. No matter how how great he still looks and how often he uses the word pussy.

  • Nicole Beaudry
    2018-10-31 15:37

    Sam Shepard's The One Inside is a slim, fragmentary memoir in which teasing apart the truth from the creative elaboration is more and more difficult as the two become more entangled, just as teasing apart conversations in which the speaker is not identified is not always easy, or teasing apart the roles of the individual players within the fabric of the narrative. The language is at once simple and beautiful, rarely reaching for a vocabulary more complicated than necessary, all while producing graceful phrases that leave the reader feeling a bit breathless. An interesting, if challenging, read that forces the reader to jump back and forth between the vignettes in order to understand the transitions from Sam's youth to present state, and the women who mark each phase.

  • Valarie Smith
    2018-11-08 20:18

    I could never have understood this book if I were in my 20s or 30s, but in my 40s, I feel The One Inside deep within my bones. In Shepard's blurring of past, present and future, in his struggle to grasp the shape of his life's personal narrative, in his confusion of what really happened versus what was imagined, his vulnerability and fragility are our own. Shepard's voice is, as ever, open, honest and real - authentic in a way I fear we won't see again in this increasingly corporatized world.

  • E
    2018-10-19 20:23

    DNF. I was looking for something different. This qualifies, but I couldn't really engage after reading a third of the book. Reviewers seem confused as to whether to treat this as nonfiction or fiction. Reality suggests it is probably a little of both. Some of the language is quite beautiful and evocative: this is, after all, Sam Shepard's writing. But some of the chapters just seem self-indulgent, like those reporting the narrator's purported interactions/dialogue with Blackmail Girl about his/her genitalia.

  • Patriciafoltz
    2018-11-10 19:39

    Not your usual book but a very good read. I have read Shepard's short stories and loved them. This is less accessible but has some beautiful language in it. I kept wondering if parts were autobiographical. Worth reading just don't expect a typical "story"

  • Kate
    2018-11-13 14:41

    I once wrote in a review that I think I just don't like short stories/essays -- after all, I haven't really enjoyed any Roxane Gay or Patti Smith, and the entire internet seems to lose their sh*t over those two. So, maybe it's just me. This isn't supposed to be in that category, as they're calling it long fiction, so I thought it might be different, but to me it feels that way. It wasn't until about 3/4 of the way through the book that I realized there is actually a plot that is loosely tying the stories together. It's fragmented, hard to follow, and the ending just had me thinking "meh."That said, the writing is lovely at times. I can tell that Shepard was a talented writer, and it does make me want to read some of his plays, because plays are a format I can tolerate and perhaps even enjoy. While this book was not for me, I can see how those who enjoy this disjointed semi-short story format would like this.

  • Erika Morillo
    2018-10-26 18:46

    This is the first thing I read by Sam Shepard, and I really enjoyed the oneiric scenes he depicts, his vivid descriptions of the American emotional and physical landscape and how he moves swiftly from dreams to reality, making you a little dizzy and confused. I especially liked the inclusion of this "tiny man" in his story, which to me felt like a metaphor of his coming to terms with aging and the relationship with his father, as if in this last stage of his life, his father and him became one, under the microscopic and unreliable lens of memory. But not even his exquisite prose can save the book from feeling like a disjointed tale, a story of someone trying to piece the hardships of his life together in too much a convoluted manner to really make sense to the person reading it.

  • Ben Campbell
    2018-10-16 13:43

    I apologize before my input. Not personally knowing Sam Shepard, not actually remembering his acting skills, except for his role in Bloodline, I found this book as non-linear, choppy in its format, scattered in topics, and very hard to follow. While reading this, I felt he had a hardened personality, difficult to communicate with, and uncertain in his endeavors, especially his own life's direction.His accomplishments, I've read were many: playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, and director. A Pulitzer Prize for Drama, with 44 plays under his belt. But, for The One Inside, the title represents himself, I didn't enjoy reading. Enjoyment is what reading is all about for me.To his children and the people he was involved with, they undoubtedly understood his ways, and endeared his love and life. His legacy will survive long after were gone.

  • Joyce
    2018-10-22 13:34

    I'm not sure how much is Sam Shepard's musings, memories and/or hallucinations. From other reviews, seems like I'm missing something by not hearing the audiobook.

  • Michael
    2018-10-20 19:31

    Everyone of a certain age has experienced it: an almost imperceptive loss of stature, that skosh contraction of size at first only you will notice. It is measurable although you may be loathe to measure it; the distance from heel to crown has declined. You've shrunk; perhaps not only in height but by analogy in relevance. It's a subject the playwright Sam Shepard has addressed in his first attempt at long form prose (at 172 pages we'll call it a novel). The One Inside amplifies this anatomical loss through dreams and metaphor, forcing the main character to confront the agents of his self deprecation.Shepard's unnamed protagonist, awakes at five a.m. to the "cackle" of coyotes, they've killed something yonder. We immediately sense some inner unrest, thoughts assault him. He's been an actor, a writer, we learn of a sudden break up of a thirty-year marriage. The numbness is wearing off. The time is rife for reconciliation. Where to start? With one's old man of course. A Father who has transformed for him, reminiscent of Bruno Schultz's crab-dad in the short story Father's Last Escape, into an eight inch saran wrapped mummy; albeit one caught sunbathing and prone to dart wounds.As he recalls the bleak landscape of his childhood other characters emerge as through a kaleidoscope: Pop flying a B17, as bomber pilot, then later as feed-lot worker; Felicity, a restless teen, accomplice to illicit affairs; Blackmail Girl, an ambitious would be novelist. These and other scattered memories will begin to coalesce into a more focused image for Shepard's lead. It is an image he must not only confront but study; make his thesis. The dissertation on one's life is merely a starting point.Shepard's novel is constructed of very short vignettes, snapshots, some dreams, some memories, an apt approach at conveying the fractured condition of our soul searcher. Fractured would seem to indicate a solid structure to begin with; in this case, a kind of protective shell the protagonist has formed around his essential spirit. So it will be through cracks in this shell we find The One Inside of Shepard's title, if a bit shrunken and less imposing so be it, at least still alive and in tact, ready for release, resolved to navigate an imperfect, slightly larger world.

  • Alysson Oliveira
    2018-10-26 16:44

    Cowboy despedaçado Sam Shepard, o cowboy das letras norte-americanas, um dos meus ídolos literários, despedaça-se, em forma de personagem, em seu novo livro THE ONE INSIDE, um misto de memórias e ficção impressionista. Chamado pela editora como “o primeiro trabalho de ficção longa do autor”, não chega a ser um romance, é um híbrido, uma expansão de estilo e temas com que ele já trabalhara em MOTEL CHRONICLES (filmado por Wim Wenders como Paris, Texas).A figura central e narrador é um ator e escritor passando por uma crise existencial o que traz à tona memórias antigas e recentes, alegrias e frustrações. Não por acaso o estilo da narrativa é um fluxo que vai e volta no tempo, desnudando o personagem. É Shepard, e também não é. Em um momento, por exemplo, sem dar nomes ele conta sobre uma experiência filmando “August: Osage County”- aqui no Brasil chamado “Álbum de Família”. É o Shepard que conhecemos. Rei da Coolness. Mas é também o Shepard fora dos poucos holofotes a que se submeteu. O personagem fala de sua separação de sua mulher de décadas, dos filhos, da dor de todo o processo. Fala também de um estranho relacionamento, que teve na adolescência, com a jovem namorada de seu pai – poucos anos mais velha do que ele.A narrativa funciona praticamente como um monólogo interior, como um homem juntando seus cacos da vida toda. É algo quase lisérgico. Há uma justiça poética ao passado, sem ser condescendente, sem qualquer autopiedade. Algumas das mulheres de sua vida são o contraponto central, são o gatilho e figuras-chaves nessas memórias. Patti Smith, amiga de anos de Shepard, diz dá o veredito na introdução: “É ele, mais ou menos ele, não é ele de maneira alguma. É uma entidade tentando escapar, compreender as coisas.” É a narrativa de um cowboy na maturidade tentando entender se valeu a pena tudo o que ele laçou na vida. Bem, tudo não se sabe, mas algumas das peças, atuações, roteiros, contos e esse livro valeram muito a pena.

  • Erin Chandler
    2018-11-15 17:40

    From one of my favorite authors, this was a slightly disturbing read. Disturbing because I know this may be his final collection and it has the feel of a man trying to figure himself out for the last time. Autobiographical to the extreme, he talks about "The Blackmail girl" at his side while he is filming August: Osage County, and his ex-wife and their unconventional mairrage and his ongoing tormented memories of his father which seem to haunt him now worse than ever. He writes about "Felicity" a girl he and his father both had a relationship with and set the tone for his fascination with young girls. It feels like he dug down to the deepest recesses of trauma, or the events that make us who we are, and brought them right to the surface and presented them to us in one last feeble attempt to share a life of loneliness. "The tiny man," probably most disturbing is the recurring dream of his father, shrunken down to the size of a doll and encased in saran wrap, helpless and suffocating so he unwraps his father's head periodically and places him back down. There couldn't have been a better title for this collection of revelations and rumination, he is boldly revealing the one inside.

  • Jason Makansi
    2018-10-31 17:40

    I've always had a soft spot for Shepard's stories and think often of his role as Francis's home town friend in the movie, Francis, with Jessica Lang. Maybe it's because I saw True West in Manhattan back in the day and his was one of the first contemporary plays I saw on B'way which wasn't considered a classic (e.g., Pinter, Albee, etc). Anyway, I also appreciate Shepard's unabashedly male perspective which these days can be refreshing. The story is a bit confusing, drifting between father and son point of views, visions, and dreams, but Shepard effectively, but subtly, digs at the underbelly of Americana