Bone by Bone by Peter Matthiessen
A Novel

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Synopsis

Peter Matthiessen is one of America's most respected writers and one of the very few National Book Award winners nominated for both fiction and nonfiction. Bone by Bone is arguably his finest novel. Although it stands alone, it is also the capstone of the Watson trilogy, which has been described by the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review as "one of the grand projects of contemporary literature."
        
In the critically acclaimed Killing Mister Watson, Peter Matthiessen brilliantly re-created the life of the legendary E. J. Watson, who was gunned down by a posse of fearful neighbors before World War I. In his masterful sequel, Lost Man's River, Matthiessen returned us to the lawless frontier of the Florida Everglades, where Watson's son Lucius sought to untangle the knot of truth and lies surrounding his notorious father and his strange death. And now, in Bone by Bone, the story unfolds in its final form, in the voice of the enigmatic Mister Watson himself.
    
From his early days as an impoverished child of the Reconstruction era, through the unjust loss of his inherited plantation, to his bloody death in front of his loving wife and children, E. J. Watson was capable of vision and ingenuity, mercy and courage, and sudden, astonishing violence. He was an entrepreneurial sugarcane farmer in the uncharted waterways of the Everglades, an exile in the Indian territories, a devoted father, and, allegedly, the killer of numerous men. He was forced to flee home and family time after time.
    
In Bone by Bone, Peter Matthiessen has accomplished the writer's ultimate challenge: He has laid bare the    humanity at the heart of a dangerous and controversial figure and, in doing so, has added to our understanding of the abiding mystery of human nature.
 

About Peter Matthiessen

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Peter Matthiessen was born in New York City in 1927 and had already begun his writing career by the time he graduated from Yale University in 1950. The following year, he was a founder of The Paris Review.  Besides At Play in the Fields of the Lord, which was nominated for the National Book Award, he has published six other novels, most notably Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man's River (the first and second books of this trilogy), and Far Tortuga. Mr. Matthiessen's parallel career as a naturalist and explorer has resulted in numerous and widely acclaimed books of nonfiction, among them The Tree Where Man Was Born, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and The Snow Leopard, which won it.
 
Published May 1, 1999 by Harvill Pr. 384 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In strikingly cadenced prose (at times reminiscent of Robert Penn Warren’s long stately sentences), Watson—an intense autodidact who “loved to talk elaborately in the elegant English found in books, and .

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Publishers Weekly

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This time, Matthiessen has given us Watson's own story in Watson's own words, and it is a book of heroic, even tragic, proportions.

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Entertainment Weekly

In post-Civil War South Carolina, young Edgar Watson suffers regular beatings from his Confederate father and soon slices off an alter ego, a murderous secret self he calls Jack.

May 05 1999 | Read Full Review of Bone by Bone: A Novel

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