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CommuniTea Books

In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen

In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen

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Cloth; Used. As New. Dust Jacket: As New. In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen. First Edition/First Printing. Fiction/Literature.


"Matthiessen, a Zen Buddhist, participated in three contemplative retreats at Auschwitz, and In Paradise is a fictional account of a week-long retreat to a former German Nazi concentration camp in occupied Poland. Dr D Clements Olin at first seems to have no personal reason for joining the retreat. He is a prominent poet and academic from Massachusetts, a single man in late middle age, a scholar of the Shoah who specialises in Slavic poets (the novel's epigraph is a poem by Anna Akhmatova). He has a particular fondness for the writings of Tadeusz Borowski, who was imprisoned in and wrote about Auschwitz. His companions on retreat are a mixed bunch, including nuns and priests, a female academic from Israel, a Zen master who is an "ex-hippie ex-Orthodox Jew", several Poles and Germans, and a brutish loudmouth named Earwig. Olin keeps to himself, and his connections to Poland and to the Holocaust emerge slowly, as he admits them to himself. Clements is appealing, but Matthiessen's larger subject is whether any group of people, including you and me, the readers, can come to terms with the profound cruelty of the history that transpired right here where his protagonist is walking, talking and looking around."

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