It is clear that the cards are stacked against the Niaruna or other tribes retaining their way of life intact. Yet I admired the way that Matthiesen ended the novel on a moment of balance. It would have been so easy for him merely to condemn or squeeze out his last drop of blood. I found his alternative, in the last three or four chapters, both moving and beautiful. View 2 comments. Jun 09, Larry rated it it was amazing. This book can be read strictly as a great story; but it is hard for it not to resonate within myself at least on so many levels: finding oneself, the face of evil man corrupted by greed and power--not a new concept by any means, but very well eximplified by characters and deeds perpetrated throughout the story as well as motives--some even done in the misguided perpetuation of good!
Feuding religous factions that are more interested in the how of accomplishing Christ's message of spreading the This book can be read strictly as a great story; but it is hard for it not to resonate within myself at least on so many levels: finding oneself, the face of evil man corrupted by greed and power--not a new concept by any means, but very well eximplified by characters and deeds perpetrated throughout the story as well as motives--some even done in the misguided perpetuation of good!
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Feuding religous factions that are more interested in the how of accomplishing Christ's message of spreading the good word and just the subtlety of the changing of words can obsfucate the message and magnify the religous beliefs of all party's concerned with religion. Something the flawed main protagonist, a scoundrel of epic proportions, who in need of saving himself from himself the most, is villified rather than seen for what he is: a human struggling with the most innate question, where do I fit in? Apr 06, Dan rated it liked it. I never was able to shake the feeling that there was something missing in this novel.
Maybe it was a soul or heart that it lacked? Hard to say because it was, at times, quite beautiful, and the ending was very well done, but I felt empty after I was done with the book. One of the biggest problems I had with the book was that the characters felt very thin. Even Moon, who was written as a 'complicated man' never jumped off of the page and no amount of discussion between Wolf and Andy at the end abo I never was able to shake the feeling that there was something missing in this novel. Even Moon, who was written as a 'complicated man' never jumped off of the page and no amount of discussion between Wolf and Andy at the end about his mysteriousness was going to change that.
And Moon was probably the biggest issue I had here; he seemed just too damn convenient as a character. His Plains Indian background never felt like more than an excuse to talk about how bad the native peoples of the Americas have been treated and how poorly we ever understood their cultures. I would have been much more interested had the book been about his back story only.
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I did, however, like Wolf, though I have to admit to always imagining him in my mind as played by Tom Waits from the film. Still, he was the only real character in the book and I really felt for him. He really was a very lonely man who acted tough and could be tough, too but he loved the people he let in. Hazel would have been a great character, too but she was a serious missed opportunity. I could almost feel Matthiessen's hatred and judgment of a certain type of American mid-western Christian woman.
She got off to a great start and seemed like she was going to be worth exploring, but she nearly ruined the entire book. The only thing I enjoyed her doing was when she hated her husband for being so good, for being so much like Jesus. That was a great thing for a missionary to say. As for everyone else: Martin was painfully dull and boring, Leslie was thinner than water, and while Andy had the most potential, she never went anywhere.
Even Matthiessen just leaves her sitting at a table staring into nothing at the end. Uyuyu, I'll admit was rather good, but he wasn't used enough and Father Xantes was just never tied down to anything I felt was relevant beyond an allegory for the Catholic Church in this part of the world. The novel is well written and some passages are very beautiful - the opening scene of the airplane is stunning - but it never adds up to much more than a story that is supposed to be sad but just winds up being sort of flat.
And it's a shame, too because there was a real opportunity to explore some very interesting ideas, but perhaps this is material only Joseph Conrad would have known what to do with. And this novel does feel very often as if Conrad is standing over Matthiessen as he wrote it - the subject matter, the rough men as outlaws, the sometimes here very beautiful language, though Matthiessen's language never reaches the same depth as Conrad; he's no master wordsmith, but rather just a good putter-togetherer-of-words.
In the end I do not feel as if I learned anything insightful about Christian missionaries, about native Amazon Indians, about South American politics the parallel story of Guzman reads like a bad Hollywood movie , nor about the larger issues of faith and acceptance.
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I felt like we never really left that plane in the beginning and we only ever saw glimpses through the jungle canopy. May 24, AC rated it liked it Shelves: novels-english , paleolithic-origins-of-man. I liked this book, a great story, and Matthiessen's description of life in the Amazon jungle and of the Niaruna is fascinating. At the same time, some of the writing is pretty shockingly hokey.
So while I'd like to give this 4-stars, I can't quite do it. Feb 16, Alphawoman rated it it was amazing. Imagine my surprise as I groped through the aisle of the library, seemingly in the "M" section when I came upon several of Peters books in the fiction section. I thought he only wrote nonfiction.
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I picked this book of the three or so offerings and laid it on the stack I was accumulating for the weeks reading. As I began to read I immediately became sucked in and totally immersed in the story, the setting, the characters. It began to occur to me, about midway through, that this book reminds me of Imagine my surprise as I groped through the aisle of the library, seemingly in the "M" section when I came upon several of Peters books in the fiction section. It began to occur to me, about midway through, that this book reminds me of the countless books as a child I eased out of the library under the watchful nose of my Mom and read under the cover of my room, at night while the family slept but I could not.
I would be totally immersed in the story, spellbound by the world out there I knew nothing about, fretted over the emotions and needs of adults that I could only hope to someday understand. Obscure books that no one else read, but were life changing for me. This was a good book, one I could not put down and turned the pages greedily. M's prose is astounding and tender. One line went like this The characters were, each and every one, fascinating.
Though the central character, Moon was someone that I wanted to overcome the hand life had dealt him and in the end perhaps he was the only one who had successfully been reborn, redeemed, saved. Fascinating book, lot of topics to give thought to such as forcing our idea of a Higher Power that is better, more redeeming than the "savages" idea of a higher power. Who exactly are the savages here? The love between Wolfie and Moon, a manly love, one of desire and two halves making a whole. A study of faith and loss. Everyone looses. Even Moon, who lost so much to end up in the god forsaken back waters of So America, somehow overcomes in the end.
As does Andy, as does Martin, who ends his life work as a martyr killed by one of the converts. I'm certain there is much more to this parable, this warning, this deep story layered with subtle preaching and astonishing revelations. I will be searching out rather than stumbling upon more or Mr's books. Sep 15, Robert rated it it was amazing.
For me, lots of books start out strongly and then fizzle out towards the end. This one, though, felt almost the opposite. It started out slowly, and I was dubious that I was going to like it, but it seemed to pick up strength as it went along, and by the time I finished, I loved it. The subject matter is one that really fascinates me: isolated indigenous tribes.
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This particular one is in some unspecified place in South America. Probably Bolivia. The setting actually feels more like Brazil, but it For me, lots of books start out strongly and then fizzle out towards the end. The setting actually feels more like Brazil, but it's somewhere where Spanish is spoken, rather than Portuguese. This is the kind of book that could have easily turned into a polemic about all kinds of topics, as it touches on so many subjects that bring out such strong feelings in people: religion and technology and what the modern world has done to us.
Instead, Matthiessen manages to keep the story squarely focused on the characters, who are developed with a great deal of nuance and sympathy. May 11, kate rated it really liked it Shelves: novels. I've been wanting to read a Peter Matthiessen novel for such a long time. I started to read one several years ago - the one about Nepal - but after I'd read fifty pages I realized I would like it one day but that I couldn't concentrate enough to enjoy it then. I have fewer excuses and fewer distractions these days, so I persevered this time.
Through the lines and lines of words, so many words. Sometimes I had to skim just to keep moving through paragraphs, which makes me think admire Matthiessen I've been wanting to read a Peter Matthiessen novel for such a long time.
europeschool.com.ua/profiles/gamiguqi/citas-gratis-pof.php Sometimes I had to skim just to keep moving through paragraphs, which makes me think admire Matthiessen's writing at the same time it makes me not want to read another novel by him for a while. Both novels depict the missionaries and their families as troubled and having to survive through experiences that make them question their faith.
There is also an American Indian character who lives with the jungle Indians and lets them believe that he is a spirit-god. The story and the characters were complex but not too complicated, and I think it would be a fun book to read and write about analytically, but I wish the person who read my copy before me had kept her notes to herself. Aug 26, Marcia rated it it was amazing.
Powerfully well-written. Apr 16, Penny rated it it was amazing. What an overwhelming story - this novelist picks you up and turns you inside out. I would hesitate to criticize the sincerity of the Christian missionaries.
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