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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.
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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 (434 )
5 star
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Overall
3.7 (196 )
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Story
3.9 (192 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    James Sandy Hook, CT, United States 07-20-09
    James Sandy Hook, CT, United States 07-20-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    6
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    0
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    Overall
    "Hit the stop button"

    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!"

    4 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Takoma Park, MD, United States 05-15-09
    Bob Takoma Park, MD, United States 05-15-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    166
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    72
    31
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    "Sinking under a cloud of mosquitoes"

    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.

    3 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tigrrlily04 VA 06-05-09
    tigrrlily04 VA 06-05-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    79
    18
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    "Boooooorrrrring!"

    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.

    3 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kay Tucson, AZ, United States 07-22-09
    Kay Tucson, AZ, United States 07-22-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    282
    4
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    0
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    "This is the worst book EVER!"

    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!

    6 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan H. Butler West Virginia 04-16-09
    Susan H. Butler West Virginia 04-16-09 Member Since 2007

    XC mom

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    78
    1
    Overall
    "Will this ever end?"

    Way too long a story.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth 03-31-09
    Ruth 03-31-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    6
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    Overall
    "Shadow Country"

    This book is so slow and so boring, I don't know if I will be able to finish. I only hope it picks up later.

    0 of 8 people found this review helpful

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