Southern Cross the Dog

3.16 based on 957 ratings & 189 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 09.05.2013
ISBN: 9781447224914
Number of pages: 0

Synopsis

When the Great Flood of 1927 devastates Mississippi, eight-year-old Robert Chatham loses everything.

Robert’s adventures in the brooding swamplands – from hard labour to imprisonment to thwarted love – are full of courage, danger and heartbreak. This is story of how a small, hurt boy becomes a tough, young man: forced to choose between the lure of the future and the claims of his past.

Set against one of the great American landscapes, Southern Cross the Dog is a mesmerizing and savagely beautiful novel. It marks the arrival of Bill Cheng as a writer of astonishing gifts.

In the media

Cheng rises head and shoulders above the crowd by virtue of one very convincing fact: throughout Southern Cross the Dog the reader never has any idea what will happen next. Chatham's journey . . . is as rollicking as the blues that one of its central protagonists, Eli, plays on his beat-up harmonium. It's a book full of flashes of thrilling darkness, surprising acts of kindness from bad people, and a social injustice that really crawls under your skin and angrily pulsates long after the novel is done. The overall effect is something like listening to a great lost country song, watching a Depression-era version of Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke documentary and reading the punchiest Cormac McCarthy novel there ever was, all at the same time.
Observer
You can feel the blues leaking out the edges of the pages.
Irish Sunday Independent
If the accumulation of Southern Gothic tropes suggests a voodoo reanimation of William Faulkner, that might not be far off the mark . . . Cheng's acknowledgements pay tribute to a roll-call of Southern bluesmen . . . his imagination is saturated in their plangent and fatalistic evocations of a vanished world. That world, lovingly reanimated within these pages, is a hypnotic one. Cheng knows how to locate the uncanny folkloric resonance in these impoverished backwoods lives . . . The description is so pungent it has the power to overturn all preconceived notions about imitation and authenticity.
Sunday Telegraph