Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review--The Dog of the South by Charles Portis

The Dog of the SouthThe Dog of the South by Charles Portis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Celebrate the fact that Charles Portis’ novels are no longer out of print and hidden in used book stores. If I could remember whose summer reading list I got this title from, I would go kiss her or him on the lips. The Dog of the South defines the identity of my generation’s time, the way Wallace Stegner did for my father’s. This novel abides by the rules of popular fiction, but also captures the breadth, majesty and complexity of our people. Portis does so with a cast of flamboyant characters who are transplanted to Mexico and Belize, and become victims of unbelievable circumstances. We have a garrulous con artist, political lunatics, missionaries, cranks, and disgraced dreamers. The great American novel is supposed to have the ability to define our society and culture through high art. The Dog of the South is that novel, masquerading as popular fiction. Time alone will bring this opinion into our national consciousness.

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