Southern Cross the Dog

Southern Cross the Dog

3.16 (1,243 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 324 pages
  • 132.08 x 200.66 x 22.86mm | 226.8g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0062225022
  • 9780062225023
  • 891,772

Review quote

"Lush and so very often poetic. . . . Southern Cross the Dog has large and small echoes of masterful works, but we should not make any mistake--Cheng has carved out his own creative and accomplished path."--Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known World and All Aunt Hagar's Children
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Back cover copy

An epic odyssey in which a young man must choose between the lure of the future and the claims of the past

With clouds looming on the horizon, a group of children play among the roots of the gnarled Bone Tree. Their games will be interrupted by a merciless storm-bringing with it the Great Flood of 1927-but not before Robert Chatham shares his first kiss with the beautiful young Dora. The flood destroys their homes, disperses their families, and wrecks their innocence. But that kiss will sustain Robert for years to come. Having lost virtually everything in the storm's aftermath, Robert embarks on a journey through the Mississippi hinterland-from a refugee camp to a brothel to the state's fearsome swamp. Trouble follows close on his heels, fueling Robert's conviction that he's marked by the devil. Yet just when he seems to shake off his demons, he's forced to make a choice that will test him as never before.

Teeming with language that Entertainment Weekly hailed as "sun-scorched prose [that] recalls William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Cormac McCarthy," Southern Cross the Dog is a tour de force of literary imagination that voices both the savage beauty and complex humanity of the American South.
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Rating details

1,243 ratings
3.16 out of 5 stars
5 11% (140)
4 25% (307)
3 39% (482)
2 19% (240)
1 6% (74)
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