We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend | [Peter Matthiessen]

Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend

Inspired by a near-mythic event on the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the 20th century, Shadow Country re-imagines the legend of the inspired Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson, who drives himself relentlessly toward his own violent end at the hands of neighbors who mostly admired him, in a killing that obsessed his favorite son.
Regular Price:$34.96
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Fiction, 2008

Inspired by a near-mythic event on the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the 20th century, Shadow Country re-imagines the legend of the inspired Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson, who drives himself relentlessly toward his own violent end at the hands of neighbors who mostly admired him, in a killing that obsessed his favorite son.

Shadow Country transverses strange landscapes inhabited by Americans of every provenance and color, including the black and Indian inheritors of archaic racism that "still casts its shadow over the nation."

©2008 Peter Matthiessen; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[G]ripping, shocking, and brilliantly told....as powerful a reading experience as nearly any in our literature." (New York Review of Books)
"Magnificent and capacious....the book took my sleeve and like the ancient mariner would not let go....a breathtaking saga." (Los Angeles Times)
"[Watson] comes across as nothing short of iconic....it's difficult to find another figure in American literature so thoroughly and convincingly portrayed." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (424 )
5 star
 (135)
4 star
 (90)
3 star
 (79)
2 star
 (58)
1 star
 (62)
Overall
3.7 (188 )
5 star
 (77)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (33)
2 star
 (19)
1 star
 (22)
Story
3.8 (184 )
5 star
 (79)
4 star
 (47)
3 star
 (27)
2 star
 (11)
1 star
 (20)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    mariaan Pretoria, South Africa 07-26-12
    mariaan Pretoria, South Africa 07-26-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Shadow Country is excellent"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Depends on the friend's reading tastes... If you are more interested in whodunnit, then this drawn out account is probably not for you. If you appreciate truly excellent writing alongside many unravelings of exactly the same events, then yes, I very highly recommend this book. And if you are likely to appreciate a most remarkable reading/rendition in terms of accents and eccentricities and atmosphere, then yes, I highly recommend this book to you.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Shadow Country?

    When the older brother writes about the day of the double murders to his younger sibling. Almost every single description of Watson is memorable. All those downtrodden women are memorable. The overall impression of the islands is amazing too. Of course, the racism is gut wrenching and most revealing of place and time.


    What does Anthony Heald bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I am not American, so I should probably not attest to accents, but to my ear they were authentic, real - that's what I think people in the deep South sound like. His reading was astonishing, not an easy task considering the quirkiness of characters. Perfect all in all. He definitely draws one in and keeps one present in ways the printed book cannot achieve.


    Who was the most memorable character of Shadow Country and why?

    EJ Watson, by far, but it is the other characters that make him compelling. I suppose I wanted him to come out of it okay, not a murderous swine. Those were hard times, the place was harsh, clearly, and all the men seemed ... hard? So within those parameters, and even though I knew Watson had done some terrible things, I didn't want him to be merely evil. I also think his sense of humour was too intelligent for his neighbours to grasp. :-)


    Any additional comments?

    I love Peter Matthiessen's work. And I would love to see more of his books on Audible. "In the spirit of Crazy Horse" was just as astonishing in terms of vast research and intelligent writing and gripping story-telling.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W.Denis Savannah, GA, United States 03-04-09
    W.Denis Savannah, GA, United States 03-04-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    645
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1361
    111
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    19
    0
    Overall
    "Why so much?"

    I would have enjoyed this tome much more if the last section in which EJ Watson talks about himself came first. For me this would have made views about him in the first two sections more readily understandable and would have helped me keep track of the myriad of realtives, friends, and enemies. Without a book in front of you, be prepared to write down names.

    I guess the whole thing was worth it. The narrator was exellent and the saving of the Everglades is worth understanding as is a last frontier history burried under the Wild West. A lot of Nigger-talk for those sensitive to it, but the story could not be told without it.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Walnut Creek, CA, United States 03-20-10
    Kathleen Walnut Creek, CA, United States 03-20-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Story of an evil man"

    I've listened to 4 of 5 sections of this audio book. Peter Matthisen is a gifted writer and the narrator does an excellent job. The thing is, the main character is such an evil, despicable character that I can't find the energy to care enough to finish the book. What I will do is go listen to the last chapter and not put myself through the rest.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Beverly Hills, MI, USA 11-05-09
    Karen Beverly Hills, MI, USA 11-05-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Confusing"

    I had a hard time with this story. At one point, I had several pages of notes trying to keep all the characters and their relationships to each other straight. I finally gave up. Then I thought I must have listened to it out of order, since it skips around. I wanted to get the story, but this would be better if you also had the hard copy to refer back to.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Orloski 03-17-15
    M. Orloski 03-17-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "audio mix frustratingly inconsistent"
    Any additional comments?

    I liked the book but had to abandon it...the audio quality was too inconsistent.The voice intonations shifting from barely audible to sharply loud...too many times to count it actually hurt my ears.It was just too frustrating to keep messing about with the volume.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    THRIFTY LAWYER 12-17-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "couldn't wait for it to end"

    this is basically a compilation of 3 books in one edition. the first is told interview-style from the perspective of numerous residents of the ten thousand islands detailing the events leading up to the death of Edgar Watson, the second picks up where the first left off and is told from the perspective of Edgar Watson's son, and the third is a first-person account by Edgar Watson filling us in on what really happened. first, while the story is fundamentally good, hearing parts of it three times over really dragged. second, the many characters interviewed in the first section are all very similar in dialect, tone, etc, and it's impossible in an audio book to keep track of everyone and figure out why they're important. the narrator is good and with his voice and accent paints a clear picture of west Florida, but there seems to be a problem with the volume in which the book was recorded, and I had to turn the volume on my player up to the maximum to hear. the prose is nice and the book is well-written. all in all I might recommend this as a regular book but not as an audio book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin EARLVILLE, NY, United States 06-25-14
    Kevin EARLVILLE, NY, United States 06-25-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Masterpiece with flaws"
    Any additional comments?

    A long audiobook but I was pretty engaged throughout. I did miss some parts of the first book but by the time I finished all three I started right over and listened to the first book again, comparing the different accounts. Ultimately, a Great American Novel (yes, I know) in that it captures the complexity and contradictions of our history, the violence, the ambition, the fortitude, the failings. Also a challenging meditation on the nature of experience, and how we perceive one another.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Fort Pierce, FL, United States 05-30-14
    Bruce Fort Pierce, FL, United States 05-30-14 Member Since 2014

    Retired Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    168
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Better Than Expected - Learned a Lot"
    Would you listen to Shadow Country again? Why?

    Probably - but not for a while. I actually went back a number of times to "re-listen" to stretches - got lost on names and events and such


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Shadow Country?

    The death scene - that happens more than once is obviously the key to the whole thing


    Which scene was your favorite?

    As the book draws to a close - the end of the third part - Watson reveals both his strong will and sense of humanity - the desire to be someone - to make a mark - to be more than just a human - but the realization that in the end being human is the best we can aspire to.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No - too complex - I needed to ration this out - 2-3 hour chunks. It all ties together and works very well - but I needed to time to reflect and sort out things.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 04-22-14
    Ellen LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 04-22-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Truly Outstanding Story and Narration"

    This is an epic achievement done complete justice by the superb narration by Anthony Heald. Frankly, he is the best narrator I have ever heard and will purchase more of his titles. The story itself is transcendent: so heartbreakingly sad yet such a complete picture of a man, a time and the devastating effect one man can have on so many others, including himself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. covely Durham, NC USA 06-28-13
    S. covely Durham, NC USA 06-28-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Meh"

    After all the rave reviews I read, I found the audiobook to meandering, slow and dull. I did not connect with any of the characters and found the jumping around between accounts to be jarring and made it tough to follow.

    Don't waste your credits, unless you have some real investment in this story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 46 results PREVIOUS1235NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.