The Thumbnail Book Reviews

by John Q McDonald --- 3 March 1998

Killing Mister Watson

by Peter Matthiessen

Mostly fiction, but also part historical exploration, Matthiessen has created a compelling work of oral "history". His characters tell their own tales about the life of a South Florida outlaw, who was killed by a group of his neighbors after a fierce hurricane in 1910. But this is not a simple story. It has many layers of personal experience and interpretation that leave much of the accusations in the book ambiguous. The people are well drawn, and the commentary on history that is told in their stories is subtle and powerful. The tale of E. J. Watson takes place in a little known area of the country, but enough of the story is grounded in fact that many of the places described appear in this detailed map of the Florida Everglades. The book is followed by two others: Dead Man's River, and Bone by Bone.

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Also by Matthiessen: [East of Lo Monthang] [At Play in the Fields of the Lord] [Blue Meridian] [Far Tortuga]

[Other Books set in the American South]