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The Dog of the South [Paperback]

By Charles Portis, Daniel Bluestone (Contributor), Elizabeth Collins Cromley (Contributor), Paul Kruty (Contributor), Narciso G. Menocal (Contributor), Jon Tyson & Sylvia Yount
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Item Number 442842  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   253
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 5, 2007
Publisher   Overlook TP
Age  18
ISBN  1585679313  
EAN  9781585679317  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Ray Midge is waiting for his credit card bill to arrive. His wife, Norma, has run off with her ex-husband, taking Ray's cards, shotgun and car. But from the receipts, Ray can track where they've gone. He takes off after them, as does an irritatingly tenacious bail bondsman, both following the romantic couple's spending as far as Mexico. There Ray meets Dr Reo Symes, the seemingly down-on-his-luck and rather eccentric owner of a beaten up and broken down bus, who needs a ride to Belize. The further they drive, in a car held together by coat-hangers and excesses of oil, the wilder their journey gets. But they're not going to give up easily.

Buy The Dog of the South by Charles Portis, Daniel Bluestone, Elizabeth Collins Cromley, Paul Kruty, Narciso G. Menocal, Jon Tyson & Sylvia Yount from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781585679317 & 1585679313

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More About Charles Portis, Daniel Bluestone, Elizabeth Collins Cromley, Paul Kruty, Narciso G. Menocal, Jon Tyson & Sylvia Yount

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Charles Portis lives in Arkansas, where he was born and educated. He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War, was the London bureau chief of the "New York Herald-Tribune," and was a writer for "The New Yorker." True Grit is the basis for two movies, the 1969 classic starring John Wayne and the 2010 version starring Academy Award(r) winner Jeff Bridges and written and directed by the Coen brothers.

Charles Portis currently resides in the state of Arkansas.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Oddball characters on a journey  Oct 24, 2008
This tale is quite different from True Grit, though it does involve oddball characters thrown together on a journey. Only here, the characters, while well drawn, were not particularly likable, or at least not by me. You wouldn't get John Wayne to play a role in this, though it is an equally strange group that gathers to form a posse of sorts. And the situation south of the border is decidedly odd, hurricanes of nature and human spirit. At one point while reading this, I almost put it down because I was so un-enamoured by the central character, but stuck with it instead. Of interest is the observation that I never got to like him any better in the second half of the book. What a pill!
Belize Me  Aug 3, 2008
Why is it that so many novels, including beach reads, weigh in as heavyweights (even when, in most cases, they are literary lightweights)? So many contemporary works of fiction require speed reading skills or an investment of weeks to complete them. It's as if novels of recent vintage imitated (non-nouveau cuisine) restaurant food portions: more stuff for your money. Of course, more stuff is rarely also better stuff; it's better to finish a book wanting more than to be sated with another 200 pages to go.

What a pleasure, then, to come across a book like Charles Portis's THE DOG OF THE SOUTH, which, at about 250 pages, is a very nice length indeed. It's also--perhaps more importantly, you might add--a very well written book, which is to say it is what some book stores and reviewers like to call "literary fiction." You can read it relatively quickly, and not feel dirty afterwards. Of course, it's a nearly thirty-year old book, so in that sense it is not setting any standards--unfortunately.

The storyline of THE DOG OF THE SOUTH is set-up with its first nine words: "My wife Norma had run off with Guy Dupree...." This first-person narration is that of Ray Midge, a former newspaper copy desk editor who was just then planning a new career as a high school teacher. Much of the book concerns Ray's tracking down Norma and her former husband Guy through Texas and Mexico to British Honduras, ostensibly to retrieve Ray's Ford Torino with which the reunited pair absconded. On the way Ray encounters some unusual characters, including the shyster (an especially apt word, if you are familiar with both the etymology of this scatological insult and the bowel problems of the character) Dr. Symes, who owns a converted schoolbus-made-camper along the side of which is scrawled the eponymous "The Dog of the South."

Portis's writing is taut, and sizzles with droll humor. The story does suffer, however, from having little by way of sympathetic characters. In a way, it's as if they all walked around with capital "L"s on the foreheads. But even if they're losers, you'd still want to have the lovable loser to root for. Ray Midge is a touch too neurotic or obsessive to be even Charlie Brown.

That having been said, it's a strong, character-driven piece of work. The characters, as annoying as they are funny, come alive off the pages. You can imagine good actors really wanting to play these roles. From this perspective especially, the novel is enjoyable. In the end, you've spent only a couple of days with this book, perhaps at the beach, and you feel like you've had a few laughs, hung out with some quirky characters, and read good fiction, and now you deserve to open another Corona.
Charles Portis rocks!  Jul 4, 2008
Do not cheat yourself by not reading "Norwood" by Charles Portis,reclusive Arkansan. Mr. Portis, himself, is such an interesting character...very puzzling to some. A brilliant, quirky writer who shuns publicity, yet is widely published and revered. "Norwood" is a read-twice-in-one-night wonder. (Portis authored "True Grit", lo those many years ago, as most will remember).
A classic celebration of American Loserdom  Jul 1, 2008
This book saved me emotionally and spiritually recently. Not only because it's gut-bustingly funny but because it portrays sharply and lovingly the many creative ways there are to be a complete failure but still have lots of wacky adventures along the way. Dr. Reo Symes is to me one of the great literary figures of world fiction. Having said that though this is one of the few books where every single character, no matter how marginal, is distinct and slightly nutty yet very real.

Dog of the South captures throughout, almost as an aside, the cultural dregs of Americana culture and society from the first half of the century washing up on the harsh, lonely shores of the 70's. Think Old Wierd America giving way to the undefinable corporate culture that has grabbed ahold of us to this day.

This was the second time I read Dog of the South and plan on reading it again.
No smoking at the table and no record-playing after 9 PM  May 22, 2008
Humour's a funny old thing, innit? Particularly various but generally undeniable. And that's just in real life--introduce a typewriter and watch those options narrow. It seems I think I'm saying that when you advance to humour rendered on the page you've got yourself a rarer tree indeed to bark up. Mysteriously connected I've always thought to how you go about seeing life pass you by. But that may be in fact just me reading into things so let's move on to the next example. Take say Raymond Midge here for instance. First off, Portis's third novel is a dream of strong good laughter is all I'm going to give away right away. But wait, there's more. The rodent-faced dude what spins this yarn? You don't even have to get past page one to fall under the spell of this fastidiously deadpan and goodheartedly exasperating jasper. To paraphrase a phrase, the Midge abides. Got his features all bunched up in the centre of his face is the reason I said that about the rat--says so his own self so he does when the petulant Canadian bunny builder aims a parting barb at him in that hotel over the border there in Mexico. Lots of folks don't seem to see the magic in Midge's stupendously canny delivery but for those of us who do you cannot and will not get a better or funnier or more human narrator. The effete yeoman worrying about hazardous melon juice on the highway! Reo keeps calling him Speed which still cracks me up. He alone sees a flying pelican get struck by lightning. Then there's the good doctor himself--the first time Ray sees Reo the old geezer's got up like a boxing referee. I remember having to actually stand up when I first read this in order to laugh correctly--Reo Symes in his white shirt and white trousers and black bow tie. Reo's a gem of a character alright--here he's talking to his mother about some of his cronies:

"The kind of people I know now don't have barbecues, Mama. They stand up alone at nights in small rooms and eat cold weenies. My so-called friends are bums. Many of them are nothing but rats. They spread T.B. and use dirty language. Some of them can even move their ears."

There's not one page here that doesn't pay off in stitches. I was just at the bit where Dupree's chow dog is wearing four little plastic bags on his paws down there in British Honduras and really Charles Portis, this godsend from Little Rock, just didn't ever put one foot wrong in the five sublime novels he has written. From Norwood to Gringos, there isn't a word out of line. Sentence after precision sentence, the honed and inimitable style of the guy ought to have you busting wheelies all over the shop--although again, humour pitched at this level won't floor everyone. Or should that be florr everyone? I've read The Dog of the South--as perfect and ecstatic a piece of comic palaver as someone like me could wish for--about a million times now and the farkingly funny road trip keeps unraveling in ever better and deeper byways. Eleven thumbs up in any case, just like I gave Hairway to Steven. Yup, Mister Portis is that bleeding good.

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