writer Peter Matthiessen

Peter Matthiessen (born May 22, 1927, in New York City) is a three-time National Book Award-winning American novelist and non-fiction writer, as well as an environmental activist.

His nonfiction has featured nature and travel, as in The Snow Leopard (1978), or American Indian issues and history, as in his detailed study of the Leonard Peltier case, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1983). …

Matthiessen received the National Book Award for Fiction in November 2008, at age 81, for Shadow Country, an 890-page revision of three novels set in frontier Florida that were published in the 1990s. For The Snow Leopard he won the 1979 Award in category Contemporary Thought and the 1980 Award in category Nonfiction …

You might only know him for At Play in the Fields of the Lord.

I’m rereading Killing Mr. Watson, part of the Shadow series.

cover

… ”Killing Mister Watson” is Peter Matthiessen’s sixth and most impressive novel, a fiction in the tradition of Joseph Conrad, as fiercely incisive as the work of Sinclair Lewis, a virtuoso performance that powerfully indicts the heedlessness and hidden criminality that are part and parcel of America’s devotion to the pursuit of wealth, to its cult of financial success.

The book is based on the historical Edgar J. Watson (1855-1910), a hard-working, ill-educated, jolly and jingoistic American farmer and entrepreneur who lived on the western coast of the Florida Everglades roughly a hundred years ago. He talked drunkenly now and then of having killed 57 men, but was arraigned just once …

NY Times

tombstone

I can’t think of a better living writer than Matthiessen.

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