“One day, in 2006, he called and asked me to come by later. It was just before dark. He was in the cabin where I hadn’t been in a long time. William Styron had died that day, he told me, and he wanted to have a drink. We sat there drinking and talking. He had known Styron since the Paris days in the early nineteen-fifties. Styron was a close friend—the friend of his life, he said. I hadn’t known that, the last part. I’d been with the two of them various times. They were easy with one another, easy enough to exchange insults. Styron was a southerner who didn’t fish, hunt birds, or play tennis, and who lived in Connecticut, far away—but there had been some strong cord. There were aspects of Peter that faced elsewhere—his spiritual life, his solitary travels, the intimate side of his past—and that you knew only by chance or from reading his books.”
On The New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog, James Salter remembers Peter Matthiessen.