Southern Cross the Dog

Bill Cheng. Ecco, $15.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-222500-9
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. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/18/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-0-06-222502-3
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-222503-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-229096-0
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!