Shadow Country and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$11.34
Qty:1
  • List Price: $17.00
  • Save: $5.66 (33%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 17? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Shadow Country (Modern Library Paperbacks) Paperback


See all 15 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$11.34
$8.21 $7.39 $8.99

Frequently Bought Together

Shadow Country (Modern Library Paperbacks) + In Paradise: A Novel
Price for both: $28.11

Buy the selected items together
  • In Paradise: A Novel $16.77

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; 1ST edition (December 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081298062X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812980622
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Critics described the three stand-alone Watson novels as magnificent epics, and Shadow Country, a seamless weaving and slimming down of these works, as a masterpiece. As in all his writing, Matthiessen offers a beautiful homage to place—the raw, untamed Everglades of the late 19th century—while trying to understand the costs that accompanied the conquering of the frontier. All the stand-alone sections have their strengths as they explore the motivations behind Watson's death. Despite its heft, most reviewers described Shadow Country as a surprisingly fast read. Only the reviewer from the New York Times Book Review expressed complaints about what felt like one big literary contrivance. But the rest agreed: "This mighty book is the potent distillation of a tale that was brilliantly told to begin with" (St. Petersburg Times).
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

I haven't finished this book yet, but it is a great read, I can hardly put it down.
Audrey C.
It gives his story from multiple points of view and many of the narrators are the ones that killed him.
Richard Pittman
It was good to begin with - well written, well paced, well-rounded characters, etc.
Steve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 96 people found the following review helpful By DC Churbuck on January 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For nearly twenty years I've been obsessed by Edgar Watson, the Everglades Planter known as "Bloody Watson" and "Emperor Watson" for the 50-odd murders attributed to him by a century of legend and myth.

Peter Matthiessen was way more obsessed than me, writing four novels about Watson. I read the first in 1990. The last just this past December. It, Shadow Country, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2008. It is Matthiessen's masterpiece, and I have no qualms saying it is among the top novels in all of American literature, a book I would stack against Moby Dick, Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, Gravity's Rainbow, White Noise ....

Matthiessen does several important things that won my admiration. First, his voice, his writing, is a very spare, zen language that is short on embellishment but poetic in its nature. Second, the structure that he brings to the narrative is very inventive. The first part of the novel is the tale of Watson's death at the hands of more than two dozen of his neighbors who gun him down after a hurricane in the fall of 1910, hitting him with 33 bullets. That part, which formed the basis of Killing Mister Watson, is an succession of reminiscences by those on that Chokoloskee beach, a backwater Rashomon that bring some amazing vernacular, history, and drama. The book starts with the killing -- and what follows is an utter mind-twister of why Watson was killed.

The second part of the novel is the story of one of Watson's sons, Lucius, who tries to reassemble the facts and seperate them from the myths about his father, who, among other legends, was the reputed murderer of outlaw queen Belle Starr.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
88 of 95 people found the following review helpful By David P. Kelly on July 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Shadow Country (Modern Library)

I wondered why I should read another 900 pages of the Mr Watson saga. After all, I'd already ready the previous Watson books. But since i am a huge Peter Matthiessen fan I bought the book anyway. Time and money well spent, this is another masterpiece. He takes the reader so deep into the Florida backcountry of yesterday that you, like me, will probably catch yourself thinking in cracker dialect. I know how the story ends but read on in awe anyway. If you like brilliant dialog, well-drawn characters, often tragically flawed, an exotic setting, so near and far from today's Florida, read this book. I loved it!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Richard Pittman on December 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book simply because it won the National Book Award. I was very daunted by the pure size of the novel. I approached it like I would approach eating broccoli. It was something that I might not necessarily enjoy but would be good for me.

Once I passed the first 30 pages or so, I looked forward to reading it every day. What a superb study of character, perception, point of view, American history, the environment, Florida etc.

This is such a meaty, worthwhile piece of writing. I truly loved every minute of my time with this book and was sorry when it ended.

It is structured in 3 parts.

Book I tells the story of EJ Watson who was killed by his neighbours in SW Florida in 1910. It gives his story from multiple points of view and many of the narrators are the ones that killed him. Their perceptions of him are based on some truth and many rumours. He appeared to be quite a villain who they rightly ridded the world of.

Book II is from the perspective of his son Lucius who becomes obsessed with the legend of his dead father and is hopeful that the many murders attributed to "Bloody" Watson are untrue. He meets resistance and many people don't want the past dredged up.

The third book is from EJ Watson's point of view and it is the perfect conclusion. We learn a lot more about what really happened though we are conscious that Watson himself may not always admit everything. Watson does do many bad things but of course his reputation causes many things to be blamed on him that he did not do. Although there are murders, Watson really sees himself as someone who tried to do good.

I found this to be one of the most complete and fascinating character studies I've ever read.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Steve on July 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon the legend of Edgar A. "Jack" Watson completely by chance. Looking at maps of my home state, I'd always noticed Everglades City hanging on to the bottom of the Gulf coast like a shipwreck survivor holding on to a rescue line. So when the family headed down to Everglades National Park last June, we took a side trip down there, and then continued on south to the very end of the road: the island of Chokoloskee

Ted Smallwood's store still stands on the southwest corner of that southwest corner of Florida. It's a museum now, with the merchandise kept just the way it was when it finally closed as a working general store in the 1950s. There's a unsettlingly lifelike mannequin of ol' Ted himself, sitting in his rocking chair, forever holding his flyswatter. And there's a sign near the back porch mentioning that, as told in the book "Killing Mister Watson", Edgar Watson was shot dead by his neighbors right outside where the gentle waves lap upon the mud and mangroves.

They didn't sell the book there (for reasons now clear), so I found a copy at my local library. Once hungrily devoured, I sought out the next two volumes of Matthiessen's Watson trilogy. Then I discovered this "new retelling" and bought it instead.

The distilled, condensed, and rewritten origin of "Shadow Country" is both a strength and a weakness - it varies by sections. Book I is based on "Killing Mr. Watson". I enjoyed this version more than the original. It was good to begin with - well written, well paced, well-rounded characters, etc. But the new version is better, polished and worn to perfection.

The form here is the same as in the older book.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa958c8f4)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?