Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Fall 2008 Newsletter

Of interest...

In April, Peter Matthiessen published Shadow Country, a reworking of his trilogy about the Florida sugarcane farmer and infamous murderer Edgar J. Watson. In this new version, the three books in the trilogy are published in one volume with rewritten passages, a compressed narrative, and more strongly developed supporting characters.

Matthiessen recently wrote:

"A work of art, someone famously said, is never finished, it is simply abandoned. How true! How true! as elderly ladies in my childhood were wont to write beside favorite passages in the margins of novels taken from the library. But where is the point of abandonment? After thirty years spent on the two stages (a trilogy now distilled into one long novel) of my most recent book, I was dismayed to find upon opening the finished product [Shadow Country] at long last that it was still unfinished. I could still spot extra adverbs and see places where prose could be sharpened. But would I keep those little changes, seen next day? Probably not. For me, that is the test. So until my system is rid of this book, I will do my best not to look at it again."

Sebastian Barry's newest novel, The Secret Scripture, was published by Viking Adult in June.

Alan Furst's latest novel, The Spies of Warsaw, was published by Random House in June.

The papers of Matthiessen, Barry, and Furst are housed at the Ransom Center.

Listen to audio of Barry and Furst reading selections from their new novels


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