Released on 09 May 2013.

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Southern Cross the Dog

3.16 based on 1015 ratings & 197 reviews on


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

This cool, assured debut marks the arrival of a new great American author . . . A dreamlike read, this takes you back to another America.
For the first few pages of Bill Cheng's debut Southern Cross the Dog, you may feel disoriented. Good. That's the author's intention. You are not in the world of realist fiction, a landscape peopled with recognisable characters who are about to embark upon a familiar story. You are in the world of language and music. . . It is southern gothic without a break, because Robert hardly gets a day off from his struggle . . .this is, after all, the deep south, in both history and literature the home of an unstable mix of trauma, dram and melodrama. . . Southern Cross the Dog is an experiment in submerging the reader in the rhythms and language of a period of US history and literature that has disappeared. He has made his book out of fascination and research. It is haunting and unrelenting.
Southern Cross the Dog is a sterling debut with beautiful poetic prose that shouts with visibility and heartfelt monologues. . . a fantastic novel of survival and strength . . . Cheng charts the haunting experiences of everyday life in a masterful voice that is impressive from a debut novelist. . . Every passage is faultless . . . The vivid descriptions of the landscape, social experiences and character's relations are laced with shattering emotions that will certainly mesmerise.
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