Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: February 2009
Duration: 40 hours 27 minutes
Winner of the 2008 National Book Award for Fiction.
Winner of the Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award 2009.
Shadow Country is Peter Matthiessen's re-imagining of the legend of E. J. Watson, the Everglades sugar 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.
Originally written as three separate, acclaimed novels, Shadow Country 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.
"Shadow Country is altogether gripping, shocking, and brilliantly told, not just a tour de force in its stylistic range, but a great American novel, as powerful a reading experience as nearly any in our literature. This magnificent, sad masterpiece about race, history, and defeated dreams can easily stand comparison with Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men. Little wonder, too, that parts of the story of E.J. Watson call up comparisons with Dostoevsky, Conrad, and, inevitably, Faulkner. In every way, Shadow Country is a bravura performance, at once history, fiction, and myth-as well as the capstone to the career of one of the most admired and admirable writers of our time."-New York Review of Books