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Southern Cross the Dog
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HarperCollins 2013
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Description

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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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/07/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062225030
ASIN:
B009NF76XC

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Bill Cheng. (2013). Southern Cross the Dog. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Bill Cheng. 2013. Southern Cross the Dog. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Bill Cheng, Southern Cross the Dog. HarperCollins, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Bill Cheng. Southern Cross the Dog. HarperCollins, 2013.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Grouped Work ID:
43298dcb-5179-45c4-f250-e0e3502521cd
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:39:32
Date Updated:
Jun 12, 2018 18:39:32
Last Metadata Check:
Jun 23, 2024 11:14:57
Last Metadata Change:
Jun 16, 2024 10:30:05
Last Availability Check:
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Last Availability Change:
Aug 21, 2022 09:56:11
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
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OverDrive Product Record

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        Bill Cheng received a BA in creative writing from Baruch College and is a graduate of Hunter College's MFA program. Born and raised in Queens, New York, he currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife. Southern Cross the Dog is his first novel.

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Southern Cross the Dog
fullDescription

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.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Boston Globe
      • content:

        "A rich, rollicking debut. . . a phantasmagorical excursion into a world. . . marked by bad moons, evil winds, backwater magic, and hoodoo curses." — Boston Globe

        "Scintillating. . . . Unforgettable." — Wall Street Journal

        "With its evocative settings and rich McCarthyesque language, this Southern gothic packs a punch like a mean drunk." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

        "Vividly imagined, frequently poetic. . . . It's hard to resist the sweep of Southern history . . . the way [Cheng] makes the devil as palpably real as the natural world that he pervades. . . . A strong voice and a compelling achievement." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

        "A novel in the great Southern tradition; think Cormac McCarthy or a 21st-century Faulkner. . . . This book is a winner for lovers of plot; tough, lyrical writing; history; and the trials of the deep South." — Library Journal (starred review)

        "[A] brooding, spine-chilling southern odyssey. . . . Bold and piercing. . . . [Cheng's] darkly rhapsodic language is so imaginative and highly charged that each word seems newly forged." — Booklist (starred review)

        "[A] dark, lyrical debut novel... Cheng imbues the landscape with Faulkner-esque poetry. ...the prose is arresting." — The New Yorker (Briefly Noted review)

        "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

        "An incredibly daring and powerful debut. Not only does Bill Cheng set the language on fire in Southern Cross the Dog, but he creates a whole new territory of story-telling. . . . Cheng, almost literally, writes out of his skin." — Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin

        "Fantastic and beautifully written, Southern Cross the Dog is an epic and bluesy throwdown in the Southern tradition." — Nathan Englander, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

        "A vibrant world grows from the pages of Southern Cross the Dog and its dynamic mix of language and place. Bill Cheng conjures history with precision and style in his exceptional debut." — Ravi Howard, author of Like Trees, Walking

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from March 18, 2013
        Charged with a swampy sense of foreboding, Cheng’s debut novel is set in the early 20th century, in a mythic South populated by leather-clad backwoodsmen, a kind madam, and a barrelhouse piano player with a “mojo bag.” Robert Lee Chatham, survivor of a massive flood, grows up working in a brothel. A fall off a roof brings him into contact with bluesman Eli Cutter, who warns, “Bad and trouble is set to follow you through this earth.” As an adult, Robert works on a swamp “dig crew” until the day he impulsively jumps into a river and is swept away. He’s rescued by a family of feral swamp trappers, only to be abused until he nearly dies. Eventually he’s able to slit the throat of one of his captors and flee, ending up in a small town where he reunites with childhood friends Dora and G.D. The three form a happy family of sorts, yet Robert still feels himself slipping into “that place of lost and losing.” With its evocative settings and rich McCarthyesque language, this Southern gothic packs a punch like a mean drunk. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi Inc.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2012

        Even before the library marketers at HarperCollins talked up this novel, I was intrigued by the story--twentyish Robert Chatham manages to survive the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 but still thinks he's cursed. Cheng is being called a rising literary star, and rumor has it that his feel for the Old South is extraordinary--never mind that he's not been below the Mason-Dixon Line. For folks who love Wiley Cash, Ron Rash, and Amanda Coplin's recently published The Orchardist.

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2013

        Cheng, an author raised in Queens who lives in Brooklyn, NY, debuts with a novel in the great Southern tradition; think Cormac McCarthy or a 21st-century Faulkner. The story centers on Robert Chatham, a star-crossed African American whose games and first kiss are interrupted by the Mississippi flood of 1927. From the Hollandale refugee camp, Robert is hired as an errand boy at the Beau-Miel Hotel, a surreal brothel burned to the ground by a drunken music promoter. Robert then works as a WPA dynamiter, clearing swamps in rural Mississippi. Later, as an almost-prisoner of a family of feral trappers, the L'Etangs, he becomes involved with the group's lone female member, Frankie. When Robert leaves the L'Etangs, he faces a choice between escaping to the north with Frankie, who herself escaped the swamps, or remaining where he is with the mostly-mad Dora, his first kiss. Curious about the odd title? Wait until the last page. VERDICT This book is a winner for lovers of plot; tough, lyrical writing; history; and the trials of the deep South. [See Prepub Alert, 12/12.]--Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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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...

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