Cruising Paradise, by Sam Shepard, 1997.
I reviewed this book on Goodreads last Monday (July 24th). Then I went on a short vacation with my family, and today (July 31st), I just read that the remarkable Sam Shepard has died.
This is the book that made me want to become a writer. It is also the book that made me adore Sam Shepard, but that is a completely different story.
These stories are breathtakingly perfect. I don't mean they are the polished gems of a technically brilliant wordsmith. I mean they are perfect in their pure, raw, gut-wrenching beauty. The characters in the story may be the most hideous creatures you have ever encountered, and yet you can be moved to tears when you travel with them through their hardships.
Sam Shepard is an underrated genius.