- Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Includes bibliographical references and index
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In this classic volume, Matthiessen exquisitely combines both nature and travel writing to bring East Africa to vivid life. He skillfully portrays the daily lives of herdsmen and hunter-gatherers; the drama of the predator kills; the hundreds of exotic animals; the breathtaking landscapes; and the area's turbulent natural, political, and social histories.
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Peter Mattiessen has long been known for his travels to some of the remotest lands on earth, most notably recorded in The Snow Leopard. The Cloud Forest brings to vivid life a South American journey that took him from the Sargasso Sea to the jungles of Amazonia, from the Inca city of Machu Picchu high in the Andes to the bleak rocks of Tierra del Fuego and the winds and vast skies of Patagonia.
The result is an incisive and marvellously well-observed journal by a born writer and naturalist, a voyage of exploration among the people, places and fading wildlife of this most exotic and mysterious of continents.
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Peter Matthiessen is one of the few American writers ever nominated for the National Book Award for both fiction and nonfiction.
When his novel Killing Mister Watson was published in 1990, the reviews were extraordinary. It was heralded as "a marvel of invention . . . a virtuoso performance" (The New York Times Book Review) and a "novel [that] stands with the best that our nation has produced as literature" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now Peter Matthiessen brings us the second novel in his Watson trilogy, a project that has been nearly twenty years in the writing. A story of epic scope and ambition, Lost Man's River confronts the primal relationship between a dangerous father and his desperate sons and the ways in which his death has shaped their lives.
Lucius Watson is obsessed with learning the truth about his father. Who was E. J. Watson? Was he a devoted family man, an inspired farmer, a man of progress and vision? Or was he a cold-blooded murderer and amoral opportunist? Were his neighbors driven to kill him out of fear? Or was it envy? And if Watson was a killer, should the neighbors fear the obsessed Lucius when he returns to live among them and ask questions?
The characters in this tale are men and women molded by the harsh elements of the Florida Everglades--an isolated breed, descendants of renegades and pioneers, who have only their grit, instinct, and tradition to wield against the obliterating forces of twentieth-century progress: Speck Daniels, moonshiner and alligator poacher turned gunrunner; Sally Brown, who struggles to escape the racism and shame of her local family; R. B. Collins, known as Chicken, crippled by drink and rage, who is the custodian of Watson secrets; Watson Dyer, the unacknowledged namesake with designs on the remote Watson homestead hidden in the wild rivers; and Henry Short, a black man and unwilling member of the group of armed island men who awaited E. J. Watson in the silent twilight. Only a storyteller of Peter Matthiessen's dazzling artistry could capture the beauty and strangeness of life on this lawless frontier while probing deeply into its underlying tragedy: the brutal destruction of the land in the name of progress, and the racism that infects the heart of New World history.
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In late 1979, the writer and naturalist Peter Matthiessen and the wildlife photographer Hugo van Lawick joined a safari into the Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania, one of the largest yet least-known strongholds of wild animals left on earth. Sand Rivers is their beautiful account of a remarkable trip into this quintessential East African wilderness.
In the summer of 1968 Peter Matthiessen met Cesar Chavez for the first time. They were the same age: forty-one. Matthiessen lived in New York City while Chavez lived in Sal Si Puedes, the San Jose barrio where his career as a union organizer took off. This book is Matthiessen's panoramic yet finely detailed account of the three years he spent traveling and working with Chavez. In it, Matthiessen provides a candid look into the many sides of this enigmatic and charismatic leader who lived by the laws of nonviolence.
More than thirty years later, Sal Si Puedes is less reportage than living history. A whole era comes alive in its pages: the Chicano, Black Power, and antiwar movements; the browning of the labor movement; Chavez's series of hunger strikes; the nationwide boycott of California grapes. When Chavez died in 1993, thousands gathered at his funeral. It was a clear sign of how beloved he was, how important his life had been.
A new postscript by the author brings the reader up to date as to the events that have unfolded since the writing of Sal Si Puedes. Ilan Stavans's insightful foreword considers the significance of Chavez's legacy for our time. As well as serving as an indispensable guide to the 1960s, this book rejuvenates the extraordinary vitality of Chavez's life and spirit, giving his message a renewed and much-needed urgency.
An eloquent portrayal of a disappearing way of life of the Long Island fishermen whose voices--humorous, bitter and bewildered--are as clear as the threatened beauty of their once quiet shore.
Since the 1950s Peter Matthiessen has written fiction and nonfiction of elemental power and moral vision, including the acclaimed novels At Play in the Fields of the Lord and Far Tortuga and works of naturalism and exploration like the National Book Award-winning The Snow Leopard.
This stunning collection of short stories, available for the first time in paperback, spans more than three decades of writing by one of the most acclaimed literary voices of our time.
African Silences is a powerful and sobering account of the cataclysmic depredation of the African landscape and its wildlife. In this critically acclaimed work Peter Matthiessen explores new terrain on a continent he has written about in two previous books, A Tree Where Man Was Born -- nominated for the National Book Award -- and Sand Rivers.
Through his eyes we see elephants, white rhinos, gorillas, and other endangered creatures of the wild. We share the drama of the journeys themselves, including a hazardous crossing of the continent in a light plane. And along the way, we learn of the human lives oppressed by bankrupt political regimes and economies, and threatened by the slow ecological catastrophe to which they have only begun to awaken.
Nine men aboard an old Caribbean schooner drift in search of the fishing grounds of their forefathers, to find only a modern world in which they have no place. This powerful story of the sea is also a resonantly symbolic account of the relations between man and nature.
An adventure story and a deeply considered meditation upon the sea itself.
The bestselling final novel by a writer of incomparable range, power, and achievement, a three-time winner of the National Book Award.
Peter Matthiessen was a literary legend, the author of more than thirty acclaimed books. In this, his final novel, he confronts the legacy of evil, and our unquenchable desire to wrest good from it.
One week in late autumn of 1996, a group gathers at the site of a former death camp. They offer prayer at the crematoria and meditate in all weathers on the selection platform. They eat and sleep in the sparse quarters of the Nazi officers who, half a century before, sent more than a million Jews in this camp to their deaths. Clements Olin has joined them, in order to complete his research on the strange suicide of a survivor. As the days pass, tensions both political and personal surface among the participants, stripping away any easy pretense to resolution or healing. Caught in the grip of emotions and impulses of bewildering intensity, Olin is forced to abandon his observer’s role and to bear witness, not only to his family’s ambiguous history but to his own.
Profoundly thought-provoking, In Paradise is a fitting coda to the luminous career of a writer who was “for all readers. He was for the world” (National Geographic).
The acclaimed poet and novelist--a fierce and original voice--now joins the Knopf list with a captivating, no-holds-barred collection of new poems.Dothead is an exploration of selfhood both intense and exhilarating. Within the first pages, Amit Majmudar asserts the claims of both the self and the other: the title poem shows us the place of an Indian American teenager in the bland surround of a mostly white peer group, partaking of imagery from the poet's Hindu tradition; the very next poem is a fanciful autobiography, relying for its imagery on the religious tradition of Islam. From poems about the treatment of people who look like Majmudar at the airport ("my dark unshaven brothers / whose names overlap with the crazies and God-fiends") to a long, freewheeling abecedarian poem about Adam and Eve and the discovery of oral sex, Dothead is both a profoundly satisfying cultural critique and a thrilling experiment in language. United across a wide range of...
2008 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER
Peter Matthiessen’s great American epic–Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man’s River, and Bone by Bone–was conceived as one vast mysterious novel, but because of its length it was originally broken up into three books. In this bold new rendering, Matthiessen has cut nearly a third of the overall text and collapsed the time frame while deepening the insights and motivations of his characters with brilliant rewriting throughout. In Shadow Country, he has marvelously distilled a monumental work, realizing his original vision.
Set in the South American jungle, this thriller follows the clash between two misplaced gringos--one who has come to convert the Indians to Christianity, and one who has been hired to kill them. Now the basis for a major motion picture.
In the South Sudanese village of Pacong, Juba is young and old at the same time. Forced to grow up quickly in the civil war, he is nonetheless fun-loving as well as smart. But his little world cannot deflect the conflict raging around it and soon he must flee the life he loves. Ahead lies a long trek to a refugee camp, a journey arduous and fraught. When at last it ends, Juba comes to wonder if there's any such thing as safe haven in his country. Yet life in the camp is not all bad. There can be intense joy amid the deprivation, there are angels as well as demons. Poised part way between heaven and hell, When Elephants Fight draws a horrifying picture of what humanity can do to itself, but Juba's is a story of transcendence and resilience, even exultation.Majok Tulba's debut novel, Beneath the Darkening Sky, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and likened to the work of Nam Le, Markus Zusak and Primo Levi. No less brilliant, When Elephants...