Southern Cross the Dog

3.16 based on 977 ratings & 192 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

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
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.
Guardian
Cheng jumps between times and place with superb power and assurance, driving his epic story up to the second world war. His writing fizzes with invention; he characters jump right off the page.
The Times