Inspired by a near-mythic event of the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century, Shadow Country reimagines 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 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.”
Shadow Country is an epic of American rise and descent—poetic, mythic, devastating. From his Everglades trilogy Peter Matthiessen has coaxed a masterpiece, a wrenching story of familial, racial and environmental degradation stretching from the Civil War to the Great Depression. His E.J. Watson emerges through a dazzling array of voices as a singular figure in our national literature, the looming personification of manifest destiny within the dark reaches of our history.