Serendipity. I had gotten this out of the library just before the NBA announcement--don't recall why, except that Shepard is a writer touted by so many to me over the years, yet I've only read a story or two, here and there.
I'm trying to divvy up my attention over three story collections (all while also re-reading the books for the three classes I'm teaching), to give each collection a chance to breathe.
But I picked up Shepard last night and wolfed down the first three stories, and I'm kind of hooked. Each so far in the first-person, and narrators whose lives and foci and consciousness couldn't be further apart, and a prose style that without flash conveys such distinctness--each has his own voice.
I'm mid-stream, so more later, but: "Hadrian's Walls," an account of a kind of accountant/centurion on the outskirts of the Roman empire, is pretty damn fine. It seems like a great introduction to Shepard's work--thickly describing a new world, intent on the problems of identity and particularly masculinity (there's already, three stories in, a 1.000 batting average on depictions of difficult father-son relations), tied to a dim worldview and a sense of humor robustly butting up against such pessimism.
More later--but to my friends, do you have other Shepard recs? It's kind of cool to discover someone you think is really great, and to have before you a stockpile of wonders already produced. And if you haven't read Shepard, hey--he's good.