National Book Award, Fiction, 2008Inspired 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.
"[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)
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!"
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.
Sorry Audible, couldn't make it through this one. Not only did it drag on, but the audio quailty wasn't great, so I kept having to turn the volume up and down depending on who was speaking making it difficult to listen to. I would recommend skipping it.
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.
OMG! I was looking forward to listening to this book driving back and forth to work but after the first two hours I had NO clue what was going on. I thought maybe if I started over it would be easier to understand but I got to the same spot again and decided I really couldn't listen any longer. Avoid this book like the plague!
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