Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy birthday, Peter Matthiessen

It is the birthday of writer Peter Matthiessen (1927), whose hefty Shadow Country (2008), a semi-fictional account of the murder of a Southwest Florida sugar cane plantation owner in 1910, won the National Book Award for fiction in 2008 and the William Dean Howells Medal in 2010. The book was a reworking of his trilogy on Edgar Watson, an alleged fugitive who settled in the Chokoloskee area in the early  part of the 20th century, which included Killing Mr. Watson (1990), Lost Man's River (1997), and Bone By Bone (1999). With Shadow Country, Matthiessen finally achieved his original vision for the story. His first manuscript was 1,500 pages but was eventually trimmed and edited into the three original books. Matthiessen also wrote At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1965), Far Tortuga (1975), The Snow Leopard (1978), and In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1983).

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