This wise and witty, tightly crafted narrative reports on the turbulence of that era with philosophical integrity, wry humor, and unmitigated honesty. Looking back over his days with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a street theater group that sought to break the conventional boundaries between performer and audience, Coyote rhapsodizes with equal vigor about the company's artistic triumphs and the pulchritude of its actresses. While his developing acting career and romantic misadventures comprise a great deal of the narrative, an even larger part dwells on his life as one of The Diggers, the band of anarchistic counterculturalists who fought against commercial culture's ability to co-opt the superficial elements of youthful rebellion by rejecting the very notions of ownership and extrinsic value. "The Diggers," writes Coyote, "understood that style is infinitely co-optable. What could not be co-opted was doing things for free-without money." And what things they did! Coyote recounts the lives and times of poets, actors, farmers, and philosophers who participated in a profound cultural experiment that tested the very limits of human consciousness and fell--eventually--to the excesses of personal indulgence.
Coyote's evolution from callow thespian to revolutionary communard to seasoned philosopher is fascinating, as much a social and political history as it is a reminiscence. The stories unravel like tender after-dinner tales in prose that captures the rasp and tickle of Coyote's corduroy voice. In the end, Sleeping Where I Fall reveals a man as complex and unpredictable as the totem animal from which he takes his name. --L.A. Smith