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Peter Matthiessen Books In Order

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Publication Order of The African Trilogy Books

The Tree Where Man Was Born (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sand Rivers (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
African Silences (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Shadow Country Books

Killing Mister Watson (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lost Man's River (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bone by Bone (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shadow Country (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Year of the Tempest (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
Raditzer (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
Race Rock (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Seal Pool (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Far Tortuga (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Partisans (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
In Paradise (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

On the River Styx and Other Stories (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Peter Matthiessen Reader (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Wildlife in America (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Cloud Forest (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
Under The Mountain Wall (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
Oomingmak (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sal Si Puedes (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blue Meridian (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wind Birds (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Snow Leopard (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Indian Country (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
1000 Adventures (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Men's Lives (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nine-Headed Dragon River (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Baikal: Sacred Sea of Siberia (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shadows of Africa (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Red and Blue Days (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Conversations with Peter Matthiessen (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
East of Lo Monthang (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
No Boundaries (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Zen and the Writing Life (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Tigers in the Snow (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Birds of Heaven (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
End of the Earth (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Are We There Yet? (With: Peter Cunningham) (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Campfire Collection: Spine-tingling Tales to Tell in the Dark(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales From Great Fiction Writers(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Peter Matthiessen
Peter Matthiessen was born May 22, 1927 in New York City to Erard and Elizabeth Matthiessen. The well to do family lived in New York City and Connecticut where, along with his brother, Peter developed a love of animals which influenced his future work as a wildlife naturalist and writer.

Peter went to St. Bernard’s School, the Hotchkiss School, and Yale University, where he got his BA in 1950, spending his junior spent at the Sorbonne. He briefly served in the U. S. Navy from 1945 to 1947. While at Yale, he majored in English, published short stories (one story won the Atlantic Prize), and studied zoology.

Peter soon moved back to Paris after he married and resolved to take the career of a writer, where he associated with other expatriate American writers like Irwin Shaw, William Styron, and James Baldwin. While there he became one of the founders (along with Thomas Guinzburg, George Plimpton, Ben Morreale, Harold L. Humes, and Donald Hall) of The Paris Review, the renowned literary magazine.

Peter has stated that he formed The Paris Review as a cover for his activities in the CIA. He finished his “Partisans” novel during his time with the CIA. He came back to America in 1954, leaving his childhood friend Plimpton in charge of the Review. After his first divorce, he started traveling more extensively.

Even though he is celebrated for his nonfiction and fiction, he always considered himself to be a novelist first and foremost. He felt profoundly satisfied writing good nonfiction prose, yet after spending the day arranging his research and his set of facts, he felt drained and stale. However he was energized by fiction. Deep in writing a novel, one scarcely knows what could surface next, much less where it comes from. When you abandon yourself to the free creation of something never beheld on earth, one feels just about delirious with an odd joy.

He is the only writer to have won the National Book Award in both fiction and nonfiction.

“The Snow Leopard” won the National Book Award 1979 for Contemporary Thought and the 1980 National Book Award, General Nonfiction (paperback). In 1991, he won the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, and then in 1993, he won the Helmerich Award. “Shadow Country” won the National Book Award for Fiction, in 2008, and the 2010 William Dean Howells Medal. From 1995 to 1997, he was designated the State Author of New York. Peter also won the 2010 Spiros Vergos Prize for Freedom of Expression.

“At Play in the Fields of the Lord” was adapted into the film of the same name, released in the year 1991.

After he graduated from Yale in the year 1950, he got engaged to Patsy Southgate and they had two kids together, before divorcing in 1956. He remarried to Deborah Love, a writer, in 1963. They had a tempestuous on-again off-again relationship, which culminated in a deep commitment to one another right before she was diagnosed with cancer, dying in January of 1972. In 1980, he married Maria Eckhart, who is the mom of Sarah Koenig, who was 10 or 11 at the time her mom and Peter married.

Late in 2012, Peter was diagnosed with leukemia. He died at his home in Sagaponack on April 5, 2014, at the age of 86. Three days later, his final book “In Paradise” was published.

“Shadow Country” is a stand alone novel and was released in 2008. Peter’s great epic: “Killing Mister Watson”, “Lost Man’s River”, and “Bone by Bone” was conceived a single vast mysterious novel, however because of its length it was originally broken up into three novels. In this new rendering, he has cut almost a third of the total text and collapsed the time frame but deepened the insights and motivations of his characters with some brilliant rewriting throughout. Peter, in “Shadow Country”, has marvelously distilled a monumental work, and realized his original vision.

Inspired by this near-mythic event of the wild Florida frontier at the start of the twentieth century, this reimagines the legend of the inspired Everglades sugar planter and outlaw EJ Watson, who drives relentlessly toward a violent death of his own at the hands of neighbors that mostly admired him, in a killing which made his favorite son obsessed.

Peter’s novel traverses some frontier hinterlands and odd landscapes that are inhabited by Americans of each and every color and provenance, including the Indian and black inheritors of the archaic racism which, like Watson’s wife observes is still casting its shadows over the nation.

Peter’s illuminating and lyrical work in the Watson narrative has been highly praised by such contemporaries as William Styron, Saul Bellow, and W. S. Merwin.

“In Paradise” is a stand alone novel and was released in 2014. In Peter’s final novel, he confronts the legacy of evil, and our unquenchable desire to wrest some good out of it.

A week in late fall of 1996, a group gathers together at the site of this old death camp. They offer some prayer at the crematoria and meditate in all the weathers that are on the selection platform. They sleep and eat in the tiny quarters of Nazi officers that, half a century prior, sent over a million Jews in this same camp to their deaths.

Clements Olin has joined up with them, in order to finish up the research on the odd suicide of one survivor. While the days pass, tensions both personal and political surface among some of the participants, stripping away any easy pretense to healing or resolution.

Olin, who is caught in the grip of impulses and emotions of bewildering intensity, is forced to abandon his role of observer and bear witness, not just to his family’s ambiguous history but also to his own.

The bestselling last novel by an author of incomparable power, range, and achievement. It’s profoundly thought provoking, and is a fitting coda to a luminous career of a writer that was for all readers and for the whole entire world.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Peter Matthiessen

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