National Book Award, Fiction, 2008
Inspired by a near-mythic event on the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the 20th century, Shadow Country re-imagines the legend of the inspired Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson, who drives himself relentlessly toward his own violent end at the hands of neighbors who mostly admired him, in a killing that obsessed his favorite son. Shadow Country transverses strange landscapes inhabited by Americans of every provenance and color, including the black and Indian inheritors of archaic racism that "still casts its shadow over the nation."
"[G]ripping, shocking, and brilliantly told....as powerful a reading experience as nearly any in our literature." (
New York Review of Books)
"Magnificent and capacious....the book took my sleeve and like the ancient mariner would not let go....a breathtaking saga." ( Los Angeles Times)
"[Watson] comes across as nothing short of iconic....it's difficult to find another figure in American literature so thoroughly and convincingly portrayed." ( Publishers Weekly)
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