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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great American Novel, 5 Jan 2011
I almost gave up on this book after finding the first chapter almost unintelligible as there are too many unfamiliar characters and an assumed understanding of the vernacular English spoken around Florida c1900. However, I'm glad I persevered as this is an excellent book which I found profound and highly enjoyable. The book contains a number of chapters from various residents of Southwest Floirida(some reliable witnesses and others less so) and explores the myth around the eponymous Mr Watson. Mr Watson is a complex character known by some for his generosity but feared by all. Hamilton lives in pioneer territory and rumours abound about his past. The life of Chevalier, an early French settler, is beautifully desribed by third parties. I would highly recommend the 'Richard Hamilton'chapters as they are full of humanity and explore the complex race relations in the area.

The themes best explored by this book are racism, the development of rumour and hearsay into myth, man's inhumanuty to his fellow man and the plundering of resources. Whilst this is a fictionalised account of real events it is clear that the author has a passion for his subject and has researched it thoroughly. This book beautifully evokes a distant time and place and I would highly recommend it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow-burn, profound, fascinating., 4 Feb 2001
By A Customer
I really enjoyed this slow-burning, long look at Florida Keys and the beginning of the taking over of the Everglades. Focussed on the murder of the local big man, Mr Watson, carried out in cold blood in public by an informal posse of the town's influential citizens, the story is told in layer upon layer of eyewitness reports, both of the killing and the events in the area which led up to it. Reminiscent of E.Annie Proulx - Postcards. Lovely slow read, truly enjoyable.
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Killing Mister Watson
Killing Mister Watson by Peter Matthiessen (Hardcover - July 1990)
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