Archives | Authors | Peter Matthiessen

Peter Matthiessen United States of America    PWF 2010

Peter Matthiessen

Where to start: Zen master — insatiable traveler — lyrical guide of ethical space — Peter Matthiesen was born in 1927 in New York — close to the Indian reservations of Dakota and the monasteries of Tibet.

An emissary of all scriptures, which point to man’s mind — Matthiessen roams the peaks naturally — casting aside “the sickness of infinitude” to expose human nature: pinpointing malice to requite harm.

“Disputing the path is a great copper-colored grasshopper, gleaming like amber in the sun.”

In reading Peter Matthiessen — “we lose sight of the author and his language so as to feel the silver light of the mountains, the blue sky opening above” — though the author often sees “the black emblem of man against the sun”.

“All the peaks are covered with snow — why is this one bare?”

Matthiessen’s accomplishments as a naturalist and explorer include: The Tree Where Man Was Born, The Snow Leopard — which received the National Book Award in 1978 — In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Indian Country, Nine-Headed Dragon River, African Silences, and End of the Earth. For fiction read — At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Far Tortuga, and Shadow Country —which won the National Book Award in 2008. His final book was In Paradise, which was published in 2014.

Peter Matthiessen has died aged 86.