In Paradise tells the story of a group of men and women who come together for a weeklong meditation retreat at the site of a World War II concentration camp, and the grief, rage and upsetting revelations that surface during their time together. Even as it probes the suffering, conflicts, and longings of these diverse characters, In Paradise raises provocative and unanswerable metaphysical questions: what responsibility comes with bearing witness to such cruelty and tragedy; and what insights into the nature of good and evil may be lost in the next decade or two, as the last survivors of - and witnesses to - the death camps pass away. Having participated in three Zen retreats at Auschwitz beginning in the 1990s, Matthiessen had long wished to comment on the ongoing fallout of last century's global catastrophe, but 'as a non-Jewish American journalist, I felt unqualified to do so, I felt I had no right. But approaching it as fiction - as a novelist, an artist - I eventually decided that I did. Only fiction would allow me to probe from a variety of viewpoints the great strangeness of what I had felt.'
Closing date: 31/08/2018
In 1996, Olin goes on a Zen retreat on the grounds of the death camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, ostensibly to do research on the suicide of a survivor. But what was the real reason for his trip? His connections to Poland and the holocaust emerge and we discover the painful truth behind Olin’s trip. This complex tale, Matthiessen’s last novel before his death earlier this year, looks at the 20th-century nightmare of the holocaust and examines many uncomfortable issues in this hugely powerful and moving tale of a period of history that the author cannot let go of.
'The fiction of Peter Matthiessen is the reason a lot of people in my generation decided to be writers.'
'His writing does every justice to the blood and fury of his themes.'
'Darkly humorous... [In Paradise] gives no hint of the writer's age or declining physical powers. The maturity of its insights, and its emotional restraint, are the only signs the author is not a youth'
'A moving valedictory for one of America's most wide-ranging and poetical writers... compelling... vivid... hypnotic'
'Skilful... affecting and powerful... In Paradise gets at the heart of the defining tragic enigma of the 20th century... [It] is Matthiessen's complex and worthy adieu'
Jane Smiley, Guardian
'The best passages here are beautifully observed evocations of the place... There is much to meditate on and many reasons to read this novel'
'A dark but thoroughly testing, ambitious and thought-provoking novel'
'Powerfully lyrical and atmospheric'
'A curious, risky novel'
'Lucid, compelling... A masterclass in fiction... Stunning'
Publication date: 06/11/2014
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
|Publication date:||6th November 2014|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Peter Matthiessen is the author of more than thirty books and the only writer to win the National Book Award for both non-fiction (The Snow Leopard, in two categories, in 1979 and 1980) and fiction (Shadow Country, in 2008). A co-founder of The Paris Review and a world-renowned naturalist, explorer and activist, he died in April 2014.More About Peter Matthiessen