Speaking of how he creates his characters, Mr. Shepard once perfectly summed up the artful ambiguity that pervades his work and is a principal reason it seems likely to endure: “There are these territories inside all of us, like a child or a father or the whole man,” he said, “and that’s what interests me more than anything: where those territories lie.
“I mean, you have these assumptions about somebody and all of a sudden this other thing appears. Where is that coming from?
“That’s the mystery. That’s what’s so fascinating.”