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The Last Days of Dogtown

A Novel
Narrated by: Kate Nelligan
Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Summary

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.

©2005 Anita Diamant (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division.

Critic reviews

"Poignant, beautifully written. Diamant's fans won't be surprised to see that she continues to excel at creating memorable characters." ( Boston Magazine)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling listening

Couldn't switch this one off, the characters were so well described within the narrative and conversation of the other characters.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

not gripping enough to finish listening

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

couldn't finish it as too boring

Would you ever listen to anything by Anita Diamant again?

I have read Anita Diamant before and enjoyed very disappointed this time.

Have you listened to any of Kate Nelligan’s other performances? How does this one compare?

well read

Could you see The Last Days of Dogtown being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

pass

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alison
  • 14-11-08

October Reading

By chance I listened to this story from late October to November as summer died off, Halloween came and went, and winter moved into place. It all seemed to coordinate perfectly with this lovely book. Read wonderfully. I am sure I would have enjoyed it at another time of year but it was perfect storytelling for the fall and a fine book with wonderful characters.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • RSH
  • 09-05-08

Unforgettable

As others have mentioned, the chapters unfold and a set of characters are revealed while the author's focus weaves a tapestry from these disparate threads of seemingly small lives. It is only as each individual's time on stage ends and the story draws to a close however that we grasp how much each soul has indelibly touched the heart. With its excellent narration, this work may well become one of those journeys you remember long after the last sentence fades.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen
  • 11-11-08

Pure Pleasure to Listen to

A rich tale of a gloomy time. Between the writer and the reader this was one story I didn't regret a penny spent on it. The story weaves around characters, in and out, back and around, so artfully I was sad when it ended. It's quite different from the Red Tent, but I highly recommend it.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mary
  • 13-08-08

WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG

I WAS TOLD TO READ THIS BOOK A LONG TIME AGO AND I PUT IT OFF. I AM GLAD I FINALLY READ IT BECAUSE IT WAS SO GOOD. EXCELLENT, IN FACT.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nora
  • 13-05-07

good

Good story but lacked depth, nothing compared to the "red tent" All in all it was a worth while read

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharon
  • 19-01-07

Engrosing & fabulous

I love this Diamant! Her fiction reflects her background as a historian. Well researched and vivid with details. Like The Red Tent, these characters will inhabit your life from now on. This audible book is excellently narrated

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Janice Budd
  • 22-04-11

Ladies & Gentlemen, This is Character Development

Anita Diamant is on the honour roll for character development! I don't know that I've read a book before that had so many richly developed characters. Each one of the Dogtown residents had multi layers of personality, motives, and viewpoints. Even the dogs and the town were characterized.

Anita Diamant's story was inspired by an article she read about the ghost town in Cape Ann, Massachusetts. I went online to see if there was such a place. There was indeed a town named Dogtown and legends about Judy Rhines, Tammy Younger, and Cornelius "Black Neil".

Each chapter was like a vignette showcasing individual characters and their circumstances. By the end of the book, as the last resident of Dogtown was moved to the workhouse, Diamant had tied them all together as a cohesive story about the trials and tribulations of the town that was known as Dogtown.

This was an audiobook narrated by Kate Mulligan who did a wonderful job in giving a voice to each character

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Deanne
  • 19-04-15

Lovely and nostalgic.

As someone who walks the trails of the Dogtown woods often I love reading this book. It brings to life the cellar holes and boulders that are now broken and overgrown. I love all of the characters, especially Judy, and the first time I read this I had to go right back to the beginning to read it again. Great narration as well.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Person
  • 10-10-07

NOT The Red Tent

If I had never experienced The Red Tent, I might have liked this book better. It was an okay book with okay characters and okay narration, but I really wanted something as beautiful and engaging as the first book I read (listened to)by this author. The Red Tent was one in a million, but The Last Days of Dog Town was just. . .okay.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Josephine
  • 31-05-06

Excellent

Great story, a look back at just how tough life was in the early 1800's.

1 person found this helpful