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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.

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The Last Days of Dogtown
Average rating
3.8 / 5
Enjoyable read
May 3rd, 2015
Interesting characters and a good story. Evokes the time period she is writing about. Loved her descriptions of the dogs of Dogtown
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1 review
A good read but
April 21st, 2015
Having read The Red Tent, I guess I expected more of this book. It was a good read, interesting characters and well told story but pale by comparison. Wish I had read this first, may have liked it more.
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1 review
Loved it!
April 5th, 2015
This is a poignant character study that truly reinforces the fact that despite the worst that life can hand you, love and friendship can cast a little sunshine into our lives and make it all bearable. Hauntingly beautiful.....
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1 review
A beautifully woven tapistry of character studies.
April 2nd, 2015
Anita, has a way of presenting characters that make you believe you've meet them and know them well. I loved the simile with the pack of wild dogs. Loved every minute of this book.
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1 review
Last Days of Dogtown
March 28th, 2015
It wasn't a terrible book, but it was nothing special. I had no real connections with the characters. It seemed like the story dragged.
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1 review
3 of 3 people found this helpful
The shifting shades of human
March 13th, 2015
A Stark and gritty portrayal of the collection of lives that made up an east coast 18th century town
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1 review
2 of 4 people found this helpful
Appropriate only after reading
February 18th, 2015
The content of this book was rather distressing--found the poverty hard to imagine Easy to follow characters
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1 review
4 of 4 people found this helpful
January 21st, 2015
The Last Days of Dogtown is a bittersweet story of the decline of a once thriving town and those who remain as others leave for better jobs, better lives elsewhere. The characters are 3 dimensional, eliciting feelings of contempt, sadness or admiration for those who are still attempting to make something of their day to day lives. It is rich in it's descriptions and the emotions it renders are varied and heartfelt
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1 review

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