Thursday, November 7, 2013

Indie Booksellers Praise Two Prospectors

We’re very excited to have a repeat appearance on an IndieBound Next List. Last October, it was the hardback edition of Jan Reid’s Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards (now a paperback pick for $11.36 on our website). This month, independent booksellers heaped praise on our new book Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark, deeming it worthy of hype alongside the latest from Amy Tan, Wally Lamb, and Ann Patchett. Check out some of the rave reviews of Two Prospectors from independent booksellers across the country – and thank you IndieBound!

Two Prospectors is an amazing read and the closest thing we'll probably get as far as a memoir from Sam Shepard since he's stated that he has no interest in writing one. Comprised of nearly forty years of correspondence and taped conversations between Shepard and his ex-father-in-law, Johnny Dark, the book is intimate and revealing (who knew that Shepard was into Gurdjieff?) not only about Shepard's craft but also his interior life. Perhaps even more surprising is the fascinating figure that Dark becomes as we get to know him through the letters. All in all, this is a one of a kind literary treasure that will probably not be seen in coming decades with the rise of email. Superbly edited by Hammett and beautifully put together by UT Press with lots of pictures and facsimiles of letters, this is my sleeper pick for one of the best books of the year.”
—Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

"This collection is unique in American letters. I don't know of any writer as open about his life and work as Sam Shepard. In addition, Shepard's a voracious reader who loves to discus what he's reading. This book is a tale of two life long friends trying to keep it together, living the writing life."
—Bob Contant, Saint Mark's Bookshop, New York, NY

"I loved Two Prospectors. The candor with which Shepard and Dark discuss art, love, sex, mortality, aging, time and pretty much everything else in life made this an addicting read. It's fascinating to watch the evolution of their relationship over the course of decades. This is a unique correspondence that made me think deeply about my own attitude towards friendship. Whether you're a Shepard fan or not makes no difference. Anyone with a creative bone will find a lot to chew on in their conversations. Ditto for anyone who spends any time thinking about what it is to live a life. I'm grateful they saved these letters". 

—Julie Wernersbach, Publicist at Book People, Austin, TX

"Sam Shepard defined the 'voice of the West' for a generation of readers and theatergoers. As it turns out, his iconic voice was shaped and fueled by his lifelong friend, who has always shunned society. Now their collected letters expose the push and pull of their ideas, culture and an effort to articulate their personal truths to each other. A magnificent volume."

—Jeremy Ellis, General Manager of Brazos Books, Houston, TX

Two Prospectors removes Shepard from his usual context and extracts the purest concentrated fix of Shepard yet, through his correspondence with Johnny Dark, his former father-in-law. Part boozy, dope fueled introspection; part chronicle of two men braiding a life-long self-styled brotherhood, this book gives us another look not only at Shepard, but at the relationship that tethers him back to his beginning and threads its way through all of the reinventions, successes and failures. The letters knit together a story, not of life as merely chronology, but as an evolution. "..the ideas tie everything together like a bloodstream.."
—Jarek Steele, Co-Owner of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

"Now this is really getting inside someone's head. What could be more honest than a guy's letters to his best friend? And what a great friendship these two have had. I feel privileged to be along for the ride as they share their thoughts on life, literature and love. I had a hard time putting the book down. It made me laugh and cry, and showed me how all of us are just too damn human!"

—Bonnie McManus, Moby Dickens Bookshop, Taos, NM

“This is a wonderful look into the relationship between award winning playwright and actor Sam Shepard and his father in law, actor Johnny Dark. The letters reveal not only a recollection of events in both men's lives, but the intimate friendship they shared. Even as Shepard's marriage to Dark's [step]daughter falls apart they remain steadfast correspondents. The letters are carefully curated by Chad Hammett, and accompanied by photos and images of some of the handwritten letters. A great title for readers of film, drama, or 70s 80s history.”

—Churchill Pitts, Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge, MA

“In the present day, we rarely hear true stories of supportive male friendship. It's even rarer to read one with the verve and brutal honesty of this correspondence between Sam Shepard and his longtime friend and creative muse Johnny Dark. Shepard has lived a truly fascinating life and has created an incredible body of work, but he has pledged never to write a memoir. However, never fear! These fascinating letters are raw and uncensored in a way that no straight-ahead memoir could be.”
—Scott Montgomery, BookPeople, Austin, TX

"A correspondence of two men who took the Kerouac road and ended up lost in America. Subtle heartbreak, along with a good dose of wit and humor, run through their discussions of art, life, women, love, and their own friendship that seems to frighten them at times. It also reflects how that American ability to create ones own identity can lead to losing track of who you are. One of the closest looks we are going to get at Sam Shepard."

—Danielle DuBois Dimond, Brazos Books, Houston, TX

"In a form that is sadly gone by the wayside, these fascinating letters between two very different creative types makes the readers look back on the last 40 years in a very different way. Highly recommended!"

—Valerie Koehler, Owner of Blue Willow Books, Houston, TX

"2 Prospectors is the telling in letters of a friendship spanning 40 years. It's a fascinating insight into the mind of one of the great dramatist of our time and his friendship with his former father-in-law and the complications of that friendship. I can't help but wonder how many books like this are left. The elegance of letter writing seems to be a thing of the past."

—Sally Woods, Murder by the Book, Houston, TX

"In four decades of open, honest, correspondence, uninhibited by pretense or ego, two disparate but irrevocably intertwined men - one famous, one not - celebrate the core of male friendship, leaving the reader with admiration and a touch of envy"
—Dorothy Massey, Collected Works, Santa Fe, NM

Two Prospectors is a look at two men living their lives on their own terms. It's the details of a beautiful and enduring friendship that spans decades, marriages, kids, illness, loss, beauty, art and a lifetime love affair with words and ideas. You know more than you want and you'll want more than you know when you're done.”
—Bosco Farr, BookPeople, Austin, TX

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