From the intensely admired Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actor, musician, writer, ex-cowboy, a burst of pure storytelling: 40 swiftly told tales in the unmistakable voice of Sam Shepard. A boy travels to a desolate roadside inn to retrieve the charred mattress on which his drunken father burned to death. A mortified actor is stonewalled by a female bureaucrat in a Mexican border town -- until he identifies himself as Spencer Tracy. A man and a woman quarrel desperately in a South Dakota motel room and part company for reasons that remain mysterious to them both. Two kids raise a wolf pup ordered from a mail-order catalog, then set it free on the railroad tracks. A movie crew conducts its business beneath the baking Mexican sun, oblivious to the Indian voladores ("Flying Men") who sail above their heads in a magic ritual older than Cortez. Terse, lyric, alive, these tales range in key from the sad to the hilarious. Some are rounded stories, some are miniatures, some are dialogues at once cryptic and mesmerizing, some are excerpts from an actor's diary. Together they present their author's singular vision of ancestry and childhood, sexual passion and betrayal, family and fame, in a voice as spare as an Arizona mesa, as quintessentially American as a 40's jazz song. Cruising Paradise is a book that locates places where our culture is defined -- and at the same time brings us closer than we have yet been to a writer who has become synonymous with the recklessness, stoicism, and solitude of American manhood.