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Peter Matthiessen, writer and naturalist, dies at 86

Peter Matthiessen, a rich man’s son who spurned a life of leisure and embarked on extraordinary physical and spiritual quests while producing such acclaimed books as The Snow Leopard¬†and At Play in the Fields of the Lord, died Saturday. He was 86.

His publisher Geoff Kloske of Riverhead Books said Matthiessen, who had been diagnosed with leukemia, was ill “for some months.” He died at a hospital near his home on Long Island.

“Peter was a force of nature, relentlessly curious, persistent, demanding — of himself and others,” his literary agent, Neil Olson, said in a statement. “But he was also funny, deeply wise, and compassionate.”

Few authors could claim such a wide range of achievements. Matthiessen helped found The Paris Review, one of the most influential literary magazines, and won National Book Awards for The Snow Leopard, his spiritual account of the Himalayas, and for the novel Shadow Country. A leading environmentalist and wilderness writer, he embraced the best and worst that nature could bring him, whether trekking across the Himalayas, parrying sharks in Australia or enduring a hurricane in Antarctica. READ FULL STORY

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