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Nook & Cranny Books

Two Prospectors: the Letters of Sam Shepard & Johnny Dark by Chad Hammett (Ed)

Two Prospectors: the Letters of Sam Shepard & Johnny Dark by Chad Hammett (Ed)

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This collection shares decades of correspondence between the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and one of his closest friends—including personal photos.

One of America’s leading dramatists, as well as an accomplished actor, screenwriter, and director, Sam Shepard’s legacy includes immortal plays like True West and Buried Child, as well as memorable film roles, including his Academy Award-nominated performance in The Right Stuff. Though Shepard remained an intensely private man, he wrote candidly about his life and work in letters to his close friend Johnny Dark. His former father-in-law, Dark became a surrogate brother to Shepard, and even an artistic muse. Two Prospectors gathers nearly forty years of correspondence and transcribed conversations between them.

In these letters, the men open themselves to each other with gripping honesty. Shepard’s letters give us the deepest look we will ever get into his personal philosophy and creative process, while in Dark’s letters we discover insights into Shepard’s character that only an intimate friend could provide. The writers also reflect on the books and authors that stimulate their thinking, their relationships with women (including Shepard’s anguished decision to leave his wife and son for actress Jessica Lange), personal struggles, and accumulating years.

Illustrated with Dark’s photographs of Shepard and their mutual family across many years, as well as facsimiles of numerous letters, Two Prospectors is a compelling portrait of a complex friendship that anchored both lives for decades, a friendship also poignantly captured in Treva Wurmfeld’s film, Shepard & Dark.
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