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Shadow Country
Cover of Shadow Country
Shadow Country
Shadow Country Trilogy, Books 1-3
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Shadow Country is Peter Matthiessen's reimagining of the legend of E. J. Watson, the Everglades sugarcane planter and notorious outlaw of the wild Florida frontier. Vividly capturing the American...
Shadow Country is Peter Matthiessen's reimagining of the legend of E. J. Watson, the Everglades sugarcane planter and notorious outlaw of the wild Florida frontier. Vividly capturing the American...
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Description-

  • Shadow Country is Peter Matthiessen's reimagining of the legend of E. J. Watson, the Everglades sugarcane planter and notorious outlaw of the wild Florida frontier. Vividly capturing the American hinterlands at the turn of the twentieth century, it traces the story of Watson through eyewitness perspectives as he drives himself relentlessly toward his own violent end at the hands of neighbors who mostly admired him.

    Shadow Country traverses strange landscapes and frontier hinterlands inhabited by Americans of every provenance and color, including the black and Indian inheritors of the archaic racism that, as Watson's wife observed, "still casts its shadow over the nation." Originally written as three separate, acclaimed novels, this is Matthiessen's bold new distillation of his monumental work. Tightened and brilliantly rewritten throughout, he has collapsed the time frame while deepening the insights and motivations of his characters, achieving his original vision of the Watson trilogy.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Peter Matthiessen (1927–2014) was the author of more than thirty books, including the New York Times bestseller The Snow Leopard. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1974. He was cofounder of the Paris Review and won two National Book Awards, the 2000 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, and the 2010 Spiros Vergos Prize for Freedom of Expression.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Oh, how lucky we are to live in an age in which three acclaimed novels--KILLING MISTER WATSON, LOST MAN'S RIVER, and BONE BY BONE--can be had in one publication. These literary touchstones, about the notorious life of Florida sugar planter E.J. Watson, were conceived as one novel but published as three, all celebrated as original and important. Now the author has reworked them extensively to combine them and make them even better. Anthony Heald so inhabits this work that it's difficult to imagine anyone else narrating it. He produces vivid characters with an elastic voice that elicits a multitude of emotions in the listener. Employing superb pacing, he uses the author's words to create a suspenseful atmosphere that keeps the listener engaged. And at 39 hours--that's a feat. R.I.G. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 2, 2009
    The life and times of Florida frontiersman E.J. Watson are meticulously chronicled in Matthiessen's National Book Awardwinning masterpiece. Combining three novels in one, the book follows Watson from his early years to his bloody demise, as recounted by his family and friends. The story is brought to life by the gifted Heald, who creates a cosmos of compelling characters, each as believable as the last, and imbues the environment with an atmosphere of chilling menace. Despite the book's sprawling length, readers will be hooked by this magnificent listening experience. "A Modern Library hardcover. (Nov.)" .

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 31, 2008
    Matthiessen’s Watson trilogy is a touchstone of modern American literature, and yet, as the author writes in a foreword of this reworking, with the publication of Killing Mister Watson
    , Lost Man’s River
    and Bone by Bone
    , he felt, “after twenty years of toil... frustrated and dissatisfied.” So after “six or seven” years of “re-creation”—rewriting many passages, compressing the timeline, shortening the work by some 400 pages and fleshing out supporting cast members (notably black farmhand Henry Short)—the three books are in one volume for the first time, and the result is remarkable.
    Florida sugarcane farmer and infamous murderer—the latter bit according to legend, of course—Edgar J. Watson is brought to life through marvelous eyewitness accounts and journal entries from friends, family and enemies alike. Book One (formerly Killing Mister Watson
    ) creates a vivid portrait of the untamed southwest Florida of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and recounts Watson’s life—with questionable accuracy—beginning with his arrival in south Florida and replaying key events leading up to his being gunned down in the swamps. Watson, who stands accused of murdering a young couple who won’t leave his land, is roundly despised and feared, so much so that parents frighten their children into obedience by threatening “a visit from Watson.”
    The second book takes place several decades after Watson’s murder and relates the travails of Watson’s son, Lucius, now a WWI veteran and scholar, as he tries to write a true account of his father’s life. Lucius journeys back to his childhood home in search of answers from the same people who saw his father killed. As he investigates the contradictory claims and rumors (like that of a “Watson Pay Day,” when Watson would murder his farmhands rather than pay them), he tracks down his long-lost brother, Robert, and learns a horrible family secret.
    The final piece is perhaps the best, taking the form of Watson’s chilling memoir. Recounting his life, from the years of paternal abuse right up until his jaw-dropping perspective on the day of his death, Watson reveals his strained relationship with his children, a personality crisis with his scabrous alter ego and the truth behind the many myths. Where Watson was a magnificent character before, he comes across as nothing short of iconic here; it’s difficult to find another figure in American literature so thoroughly and convincingly portrayed. When Watson delivers his final line, it’s as close as most will come to witnessing a murder.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 21, 2009
    The life and times of Florida frontiersman E.J. Watson are meticulously chronicled in Matthiessen's National Book Award–winning masterpiece. Combining three novels in one, the book follows Watson from his early years to his bloody demise, as recounted by his family and friends. The story is brought to life by the gifted Heald, who creates a cosmos of compelling characters, each as believable as the last, and imbues the environment with an atmosphere of chilling menace. Despite the book's sprawling length, readers will be hooked by this magnificent listening experience. A Modern Library hardcover.

  • Publishers Weekly, starred review, Pick of the Week 'Matthiessen’s Watson trilogy is a touchstone of modern American literature…this reworking…is remarkable....Where Watson was a magnificent character before, he comes across as nothing short of iconic here; it’s difficult to find another figure in American literature so thoroughly and convincingly portrayed.'

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    Blackstone Publishing
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Shadow Country Trilogy, Books 1-3
Peter Matthiessen
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