Praise for Shadow Country
"Magnificent . . . breathtaking . . . Finally now we have this three-part saga] welded like a bell, and with Watson's song the last sound, all the elements fuse and resonate."--Los Angeles Times
"Peter Matthiessen has done great things with the Watson trilogy. It's the story of our continent, both land and people, and his writing does every justice to the blood fury of his themes."--Don DeLillo
"The fiction of Peter Ma--tthiessen is the reason a lot of people in my generation decided to be writers. No doubt about it. Shadow Country lives up to anyone's highest expectations for great writing." --Richard Ford "Shadow Country, Matthiessen's distillation of the earlier Watson saga, represents his original vision. It is the quintessence of his lifelong concerns, and a great legacy."--W. S. Merwin
" An] epic masterpiece . . . a great American novel."--The Miami Herald
In a malarial outpost in the South American rain forest, two misplaced gringos converge and clash in this novel from the National Book Award-winning author. Martin Quarrier has come to convert the elusive Niaruna Indians to his brand of Christianity. Lewis Moon, a stateless mercenary who is himself part Indian, has come to kill them on the behalf of the local comandante. Out of this struggle Peter Matthiessen creates an electrifying moral thriller--adapted into a movie starring John Lithgow, Kathy Bates, and Tom Waits. A novel of Conradian richness, At Play in the Fields of the Lord explores both the varieties of spiritual experience and the politics of cultural genocide.
One of the few American writers ever nominated for the National Book Award for both fiction and nonfiction presents the second novel in his Watson trilogy.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. 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.
"Watson's voice is an artistic triumph. . . Bone by Bone] may well come to be regarded as a classic." --San Francisco Chronicle Book ReviewIn Bone by Bone, Peter Matthiessen speaks in the extraordinary voice of the enigmatic and dangerous E. J. Watson, whom we first saw, obliquely, through the eyes of his early twentieth-century Everglades community in Killing Mister Watson. This astonishing new novel, calling to account the violence, virulent racism, and destruction of the land that fueled the so-called American Dream, points an accusing finger straight into the burning eyes of Uncle Sam. Here is the bloodied child of the Civil War and Reconstruction who dreams of recovering the family plantation. He becomes the gifted cane planter nearing success on a wilderness river when he gives in fatally to his accumulating demons. Powerfully imagined, prodigiously detailed, Bone by Bone is a literary tour de force as bold and ambitious as Watson himself. "Like a true tragic figure, Watson] knows and understands; he does not wriggle to save his own skin," said The New York Times. "This is a work of genuine dignity."
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.
In August 1968, naturalist-explorer Peter Matthiessen returned from Africa to his home in Sagaponack, Long Island, to find three Zen masters in his driveway--guests of his wife, a new student of Zen. Thirteen years later, Matthiessen was ordained a Buddhist monk. Written in the same format as his best-selling The Snow Leopard, Nine-Headed Dragon River reveals Matthiessen's most daring adventure of all: the quest for his spiritual roots.