By his own admission, Brooklynite Mr. Cheng has, however, obsessively inhaled the Southern milieu with a devotion to that art form known as the blues. Son House, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and others: They've taken Cheng into the South. Indeed, Cheng says the makings of his story came straight from lyrics of the blues; a great Mississippi Delta flood--so essential to the Southern experience--is but one pivotal example.
Southern Cross the Dog begins like this:
"When I was a baby child, they put the jinx on me.
"It was in my drink and food and milk. And when I ran, it heavied in my bones and when I sang, it stopped up my throat and when I loved, it let from me, hot and poisonous."
This voice of young Robert Lee Chatham, the narration that follows, the prose lines of Southern Cross the Dog are astonishingly fresh and original. Cheng has taken what he learned from studying the blues and applied it to his fiction prose. Bill Cheng doesn't hesitate to bend his words like so many blue notes.
Read Charlie Dickinson's
story collection, The Cat
at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable
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