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The Last Days of Dogtown: A Novel | [Anita Diamant]

The Last Days of Dogtown: A Novel

Set on Cape Ann in the early 1800s, The Last Days of Dogtown is peopled by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans, and "witches". Nearly a decade ago, Diamant found an account of an abandoned rural backwater near the Massachusetts coastline at the turn of the nineteenth century. That pamphlet inspired a stunning novel about a small group of eccentrics and misfits, struggling in a harsh, isolated landscape only fifty miles north of Boston, yet a world away.
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Publisher's Summary

Set on Cape Ann in the early 1800s, The Last Days of Dogtown is peopled by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans, and "witches". Nearly a decade ago, Diamant found an account of an abandoned rural backwater near the Massachusetts coastline at the turn of the nineteenth century. That pamphlet inspired a stunning novel about a small group of eccentrics and misfits, struggling in a harsh, isolated landscape only fifty miles north of Boston, yet a world away.

Among the inhabitants of Dogtown are Black Ruth, an African woman who dresses as a man and works as a stone mason; Mrs. Stanley, an imperious madam whose grandson, Sammy, comes of age in her rural brothel; Oliver Younger, who survives a miserable childhood at the hands of a very strange aunt; and Cornelius Finson, a freed slave whose race denies him everything. At the center of it all is Judy Rhines, a fiercely independent soul, deeply lonely, who nonetheless builds a life for herself and inspires those around her to become more generous and tolerant themselves.

©2005 Anita Diamant; (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division.

What the Critics Say

  • 2005 Audie Award Nominee, Solo Narration (Female)

"Poignant, beautifully written. Diamant's fans won't be surprised to see that she continues to excel at creating memorable characters." (Boston Magazine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (241 )
5 star
 (62)
4 star
 (65)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.4 (69 )
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3.7 (67 )
5 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Alison Belle Mead, NJ, USA 11-14-08
    Alison Belle Mead, NJ, USA 11-14-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "October Reading"

    By chance I listened to this story from late October to November as summer died off, Halloween came and went, and winter moved into place. It all seemed to coordinate perfectly with this lovely book. Read wonderfully. I am sure I would have enjoyed it at another time of year but it was perfect storytelling for the fall and a fine book with wonderful characters.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Toronto, ON, Canada 11-11-08
    Karen Toronto, ON, Canada 11-11-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    122
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    "Pure Pleasure to Listen to"

    A rich tale of a gloomy time. Between the writer and the reader this was one story I didn't regret a penny spent on it. The story weaves around characters, in and out, back and around, so artfully I was sad when it ended. It's quite different from the Red Tent, but I highly recommend it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon 01-19-07
    Sharon 01-19-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Engrosing & fabulous"

    I love this Diamant! Her fiction reflects her background as a historian. Well researched and vivid with details. Like The Red Tent, these characters will inhabit your life from now on. This audible book is excellently narrated

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Budd Canada 04-22-11
    Janice Budd Canada 04-22-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
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    "Ladies & Gentlemen, This is Character Development"

    Anita Diamant is on the honour roll for character development! I don't know that I've read a book before that had so many richly developed characters. Each one of the Dogtown residents had multi layers of personality, motives, and viewpoints. Even the dogs and the town were characterized.

    Anita Diamant's story was inspired by an article she read about the ghost town in Cape Ann, Massachusetts. I went online to see if there was such a place. There was indeed a town named Dogtown and legends about Judy Rhines, Tammy Younger, and Cornelius "Black Neil".

    Each chapter was like a vignette showcasing individual characters and their circumstances. By the end of the book, as the last resident of Dogtown was moved to the workhouse, Diamant had tied them all together as a cohesive story about the trials and tribulations of the town that was known as Dogtown.

    This was an audiobook narrated by Kate Mulligan who did a wonderful job in giving a voice to each character

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RSH 05-09-08
    RSH 05-09-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unforgettable"

    As others have mentioned, the chapters unfold and a set of characters are revealed while the author's focus weaves a tapestry from these disparate threads of seemingly small lives. It is only as each individual's time on stage ends and the story draws to a close however that we grasp how much each soul has indelibly touched the heart. With its excellent narration, this work may well become one of those journeys you remember long after the last sentence fades.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony waterboro, ME, USA 12-11-05
    Anthony waterboro, ME, USA 12-11-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "...they lived happily ever after"

    Decent novel. It is a series of little stories involving the different people in a small New England town-and how these events tie together. There is no main plot or who dunnit, just a story about people lost in a ever changing world. A nice little book to go to sleep to at night

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mary VENTURA, CA, United States 08-13-08
    mary VENTURA, CA, United States 08-13-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG"

    I WAS TOLD TO READ THIS BOOK A LONG TIME AGO AND I PUT IT OFF. I AM GLAD I FINALLY READ IT BECAUSE IT WAS SO GOOD. EXCELLENT, IN FACT.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nora ABQ, NM, USA 05-13-07
    Nora ABQ, NM, USA 05-13-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    5
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    Overall
    "good"

    Good story but lacked depth, nothing compared to the "red tent" All in all it was a worth while read

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 10-10-07
    Jennifer 10-10-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "NOT The Red Tent"

    If I had never experienced The Red Tent, I might have liked this book better. It was an okay book with okay characters and okay narration, but I really wanted something as beautiful and engaging as the first book I read (listened to)by this author. The Red Tent was one in a million, but The Last Days of Dog Town was just. . .okay.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 10-02-11
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 10-02-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    504
    286
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    "Good But Not Great"

    As others have said, this was not as good as the Red Tent. I thought the narraton was a little uneven. But the stories were interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Sue
    Shortwood, Bristol, South Glos, United Kingdom
    1/18/09
    Overall
    "Compelling listening"

    Couldn't switch this one off, the characters were so well described within the narrative and conversation of the other characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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