The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant
A Novel

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Synopsis

A magnificent storyteller with vast imaginative range, Anita Diamant gave voice to the silent women of the Old Testament in The Red Tent. Now, in her third novel, she brings to vivid life an early New England world that history has forgotten.
Set on Cape Ann in the early 1800s, The Last Days of Dogtown is peopled by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans, and "witches." Nearly a decade ago, Diamant found an account of an abandoned rural backwater near the Massachusetts coastline at the turn of the nineteenth century. That pamphlet inspired a stunning novel about a small group of eccentrics and misfits, struggling in a harsh, isolated landscape only fifty miles north of Boston, yet a world away.
Among the inhabitants of Dogtown are Black Ruth, an African woman who dresses as a man and works as a stone mason; Mrs. Stanley, an imperious madam whose grandson, Sammy, comes of age in her rural brothel; Oliver Younger, who survives a miserable childhood at the hands of a very strange aunt; and Cornelius Finson, a freed slave whose race denies him everything. At the center of it all is Judy Rhines, a fiercely independent soul, deeply lonely, who nonetheless builds a life for herself and inspires those around her to become more generous and tolerant themselves.
This is a story of hardship and resilience -- and an extraordinary re-creation of an untold chapter of early American life. With a keen ear for language and profound compassion for her characters, Diamant has written her most moving and powerful novel.
 

About Anita Diamant

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Anita Diamant is the bestselling author of the novels The Red Tent, Good Harbor, and The Last Days of Dogtown, as well as the collection of essays, Pitching My Tent. An award-winning journalist whose work has appeared regularly in The Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting, she is the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life. She lives in Massachusetts. Her most recent novel is Day After Night. Visit her website at www.anitadiamant.com.
 
Published March 13, 2007 by Scribner. 388 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Last Days of Dogtown

The Guardian

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She has left Dogtown to keep house for a lawyer in Gloucester, and when Cornelius turns up, dying, in the local workhouse, she fetches him home, and nurses him in his last moments.

Feb 18 2006 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Dogtown: A N...

The Guardian

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The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant 320pp, Macmillan, £12.99 Anita Diamant's latest novel is something of a surprise.

Feb 18 2006 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Dogtown: A N...

Book Reporter

THE LAST DAYS OF DOGTOWN, though far removed in place and.

Aug 30 2005 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Dogtown: A N...

Entertainment Weekly

This too-ambitious novel follows the hamlet's 19th-century inhabitants, from farmer Tammy (how can her butter be so sweet yet her disposition so sour?) to androgynous ex-slave Black Ruth to the suspiciously self-sufficient Judy, whose capacity for love is almost unbelievably great.

Sep 09 2005 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Dogtown: A N...

Suite 101

Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent, has combined a vivid imagination with historical research to create this story of a fading Massachusetts town.

Nov 12 2008 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Dogtown: A N...

Curled Up

Infinitely personal, yet larger-than-life, these characters are a microcosm of a world where suffering is familiar and a moment of nature’s incredible beauty is transcendent for all the lack of human comfort: “The blue of the sea caught Ruth’s eye as she wiped the dirt from her hands and she felt...

Dec 28 2014 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Dogtown: A N...

Bookmarks Magazine

San Francisco Chronicle 2.5 of 5 Stars"There is much of value in Diamant’s latest offering, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that we’ve seen all this before—the tragic characters and weepy scenes feel stale even as they still manage to provoke a tear or two.

Aug 27 2007 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Dogtown: A N...

http://www2.webster.edu

Here in St. Louis a 1904 newspaper says there were at least 8 neighborhoods in this city alone with the name Dogtown.

Dec 28 2014 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Dogtown: A N...

Reader Rating for The Last Days of Dogtown
73%

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