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Southern Cross the Dog


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"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
"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)

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 (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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