Peter Matthiessen died today at 5:15pm EST after an illness of some months. He was 86 years old.
Matthiessen was born in New York in 1927. Shortly after graduating from Yale, he embarked for France, where he co-founded The Paris Review. (He later disclosed that he was working for the CIA at the time and used the Review for cover.) An active environmentalist and champion of human rights, Matthiessen produced such great works as The Snow Leopard, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, and In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. His epic Shadow Country, three novels that he painstakingly reworked into one volume, covers the life of Edgar J. Watson, Florida sugarcane farmer and infamous murderer. Shadow Country won the National Book Award in 2008.
Matthiessen worked up to his death, and his last novel In Paradise, set during a spiritual retreat in Auschwitz, will be published on April 8.
The Amazon editors recently spoke with Peter Matthiessen.