kate's Reviews > At Play in the Fields of the Lord

At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen
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's review
May 11, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: 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's writing at the same time it makes me not want to read another novel by him for a while.

At Play in the Fields of the Lord is about missionaries and native people in the jungles of South America, and it reminded me of The Poisonwood Bible, though it was written before TPB. 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.

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