This is the first audie that I was not able to listen to through completion. I was bored stiff with book one and things didn't get better halfway through book two. I purchased the book based on some of the rave reviews, and all I can say is different strokes for different folks. Shadow Country is one long a boring piece of literature. Not at all what I expected.
I whole-heartedly agree with the positive reviews of this book. It is a wonderful story of strong characters during a wild time in south Florida history. One of the reviews said that part three could stand on its own as a novel. That is true, but it is so much richer if you have the background from parts one and two. The language is pretty rough, but is entirely in character.
One note about the narration, though: if you primarily listen in the car, be prepared to adjust the volume frequently. The narrator tends to let his voice drop to a whisper, then comes back full-force in the next phrase, so you end up increasing the volume to hear the soft parts, then turning it down again to protect your hearing. The recording engineer should have used more audio compression to keep the dynamic range to a comfortable level.
This long and involved tale would have gotten lost for me without the amazing narration given by Anthony Heald.
I typically choose the longest books available since I spend several hours a day listening. Most of the time, the books with irritating or inept readers make it hard to keep listening. I've already searched out and chosen several more books with Mr Heald narrating.
This is an intriguing story with great insights into the minds of friends, enemies, and family members. As always, "to understand all is to forgive all", and so I find that though I started out hating EJ Watson, I end up forgiving him because I hear his side of the story at the end. A great read.
It dragged out. It never became my cup of tea. The approach was unique with the different points of view. If you want to see how different characters perceive the same situation you will enjoy this book. The narrator was authentic to the characters with his tones and accent.
I only awarded 3 stars because somehow I managed to finish it. It's the same story told over and over again by different people. I really was done with Watson long before the end of the book. You'll get some sense of what Florida was like in those days, but not really in depth. The best part of it doesn't come til part 4 where EJ starts the story from his point of view. Unless you are very, very patient skip it!
If you haven't read the book(s) already, there are just too many characters to follow the story. There's a big difference between seeing (in print) who's talking in a book and just hearing the characters in an audio. In the first section, they seem to change very often. It would have been more helpful had there been a list of characters and who they are in relation to Mr. Watson. The narrator is good and I think I may have enjoyed this audio had I read the 900 page book. This audio exposes the weaknesses of audio books. A waste of money in my opinion. Buyers beware!
I am a devoted Audible listener, but I have to say, I've struggled with Shadow Country. Usually I think of any excuse to take a walk or a drive in my car so that I can listen to my latest book. But I've been working on this one for more than a month - and I'm still finding myself getting lost in the multitude of characters and relationships, and not sure that I care about any of them! I think I am about to give it up after finishing only about 16 hours of the book. Shadow Country has been more of a cure for my insomnia than an entertaining listen. Perhaps, as one reviewer said, it might be more enjoyable if you had read the book first.
I really wanted to enjoy this book. The review and synopsis were compelling. What I got was a different story. Very difficult to understand with rambling prose I found myself drifting off to other more enjoyable entertainment - which is saying lots given I am while driving to work. Better luck to you.
Somewhere in here is a good story. This book is in desperate need of an editor with the guts to cut out 2/3 of the book. Endlessly we hear the same story, told in a corn pone accent, over and over, from different points of view. Rashomon it's not. It's a shame, because it was just interesting enough to keep me going until about halfway through, when I had to say "NO MAS!"
My rating is incomplete as I said 'uncle' part way through book two. Maybe something would have changed to compel me to get through book five, but I doubt it. By this point I knew very well what had happened to Mr. Watson and was deeply versed and immersed in the inhospitable climes of the ten thousand islands. I think I would go a little nutty if I had to suffer through another 20 hours of this tale.
Matthiessen is a good writer but not good enough to command this much of my time when better listens beckon.