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In Paradise

Peter Matthiessen


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.’

  • Publication date: November 6, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781780746081
  • RRP: £8.99
  • Pages: 256
  • Publication date: April 24, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781780745558
  • RRP: £12.99
  • Pages: 256
  • Publication date: April 24, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781780745565
  • RRP: £4.99
  • Pages: 256


‘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

‘Lucid, compelling… A masterclass in fiction… Stunning’ 

Irish Times

‘Powerfully lyrical and atmospheric’


‘A curious, risky novel’

Literary Review

‘A moving valedictory for one of America’s most wide-ranging and poetical writers… compelling… vivid… hypnotic’

Financial Times

‘The best passages here are beautifully observed evocations of the place… There is much to meditate on and many reasons to read this novel’

The Times

‘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’

The Herald

'His writing does every justice to the blood and fury of his themes.'

Don DeLillo

‘The fiction of Peter Matthiessen is the reason a lot of people in my generation decided to be writers.’ 


Richard Ford

 ‘A dark but thoroughly testing, ambitious and thought-provoking novel’

Curious Animal

Peter Matthiessen

Peter Matthiessen is an American novelist, naturalist, and wilderness writer. A co-founder of the literary magazine The Paris Review and a three-time National Book Award-winner, he has also been a prominent environmental activist. He is the author of ten novels, including Shadow Country, which won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2008, and over twenty works of non-fiction, including the international bestselling The Snow Leopard (1978), which won two National Book Awards in 1979 and 1980, and In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1983). He is 86 and lives in New York City.

Author page

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