Southern Cross the Dog

Southern Cross the Dog

Book - 2013
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In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O'Connor, Bill Cheng's Southern Cross the Dog is an epic literary debut in which the bonds between three childhood friends are upended by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. In its aftermath, one young man must choose between the lure of the future and the claims of the past.

Having lost virtually everything in the fearsome storm--home, family, first love--Robert Chatham embarks on an odyssey that takes him through the deep South, from the desperation of a refugee camp to the fiery and raucous brothel Hotel Beau-Miel and into the Mississippi hinterland, where he joins a crew hired to clear the swamp and build a dam.

Along his journey he encounters piano-playing hustlers, ne'er-do-well Klansmen, well-intentioned whores, and a family of fur trappers, the L'Etangs, whose very existence is threatened by the swamp-clearing around them. The L'Etang brothers are fierce and wild but there is something soft about their cousin Frankie, possibly the only woman capable of penetrating Robert's darkest places and overturning his conviction that he's marked by the devil.

Teeming with language that renders both the savage beauty and complex humanity of our shared past, Southern Cross the Dog is a tour de force that heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.

Publisher: New York, NY : Ecco, c2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062225009
0062225006
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 324 pages ; 24 cm.

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PearlyBaker
Aug 29, 2017

It was a beautiful story with captivating prose but I don't expect an Ai takeover any time soon. This book was recommended to me by amazon and Goodreads because I like Cormac McCarthy. While he's no Cormac he is published and I'm not, so who really cares what I think. Besides he is a gifted author and I would gladly read all of his catalogue which rarely happens so that says something. I do think my ex wife/fiancé might be right though and I'm way too suggestible to be checking out Ai suggestions.

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justslide
Sep 03, 2013

Did not like it as much as I anticipated. It was really slow getting into the story, only to finish it and realizing that there wasn't much to get into in the first place. I felt like I may have wasted my time on this one.

mvkramer Sep 02, 2013

At first the book seemed kind of ...distant...to me, the character's emotions not very immediate, but it deepened over the course of the book, and by the time we got to Dora's chapter the emotion was as raw as you could hope for. Maybe this is a bit narrow-minded, but I still think books about the African-American experience by African-American authors are a bit more...real, and I would recommend reading the classics of African-American literature to anyone who even mildly liked this book. Bill Cheng has a way with words, and this book is worth reading slowly just to appreciate the artful craft of his language.

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mvkramer Sep 02, 2013

In 1927, a flood turns the lives of many poor, African-American residents of Issaquena County upside down. One of them is Robert Chatham, a boy whose older brother was lynched for his relationship with a white woman. Years later, Robert is still wandering through life, working at a whorehouse, waiting for another accident to cut him adrift. Another is Dora, a girl who ends up sold to a trapper by her own uncle.

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