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Southern Cross the Dog

3.16 based on 1001 ratings & 196 reviews on Goodreads.com

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
Fraught with poverty, pain and inhumanity, this tale of a young boy's passage from childhood to manhood in a harsh, segregated world is a Delta blues song in book form that has earned Cheng comparisons with the US novelist Cormac McCarthy.
Metro