Laureate of The Wild: PETER MATTHIESSEN

Novelist, naturalist and activist, Peter Matthiessen pursues an austere spiritual quest in his life as well as in his writing

"He'd heard from a Mongolian ornithologist," says the writer, and you know there's only one major American novelist who could be speaking, "that there were quite a number of cranes in the eastern part of Mongolia. So we spent two weeks exploring the river systems there. There are only 15 species of crane, and seven of them are seriously endangered. And they're all very beautiful -- the biggest flying creatures on earth -- and they seem to me a wonderful metaphor. They require a lot of space, a lot of wilderness and clean water." + They are symbols of longevity. "And...

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