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Biography > English Biography

The Snow Leopard
Author: Peter Matthiessen
ISBN: 9780099771111
Size: 130 x 200 mm
Pages: 312
Publisher: Vintage Books

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In 1973, two men set out on a trek to the famous Crystal Mountain of Nepal. One of them is the wildlife biologist George Schaller, and the other is the American novelist and wilderness writer, Peter Matthiessen. Schaller wanted to track a herd of bharal, a rare species of blue sheep which could explain the evolutionary link between sheep and goats. This trek took them over 250 miles through the cold mountain passes of the Himalayas and into the Land of Dolpo. However, these two men had a secondary, more ambitious goal. They wanted to spot a ghostly animal, one that few humans had spotted at the time. Snow leopards are elusive, they follow the bharal and at the time, they had been barely glimpsed twice by Westerners. However, their search is also spiritual in nature. Peter lost his wife prior to the adventure and is still coming to terms with her death. They travel on, towards the Crystal Monastery so that they can meet its Buddhist lama. The two men begin to wonder if they will ever spot a snow leopard, and Peter tries to understand the importance of acceptance over the desire for rare phenomena. At once spiritual and explorative, this book delves into the metaphorical meaning of the elusive animal in his life, and its style makes readers recall the works of Sir Richard Burton, Sir Henry Morton Stanley and Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton.

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