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.
This was brilliant in three volumes and concentrated into one, is actually better- more focused and with an ending that lacerates.
Good for auditory learners but not for visual people
I was reluctant to pay $41.95 for an audiobook but considered it would be worth it for 42 hours of listening. Most of the reviews I read were excellent so I decided to go for it. This book is written beautifully and the narrator, Anthony Heald does an outstanding job, probably the best I have ever heard. I have listened to countless audiobooks but this one was very difficult to follow. This book is a combination of three books all about the same character, E.J. Watson. The first book is Watson's story told by his neighbors. There are so many neighbors telling little snippets of Watson's story I could not keep them straight and and could only get a general sense of what was going on. The second book is told by Watson's son. I could follow his story a little better but was still confused by all the characters. The third book is Watson telling his own story. By the time I got to this part of the book I was able to follow along. The thing about audiobooks is you don't have the luxury of paging back to figure out who is who. My guess is that this is a great book to read but I just had a really hard time listening to it. Had I known then what I know now about this book I would not have purchased it as an audiobook.