The Dog of the South

The Dog of the South

by Charles Portis


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781585679317
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication date: 06/05/2007
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 156,087
Product dimensions: 5.45(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.55(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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.

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Dog of the South 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dog of the South is one of Portis' best books. Like Mosquito Coast in it's de-paradise-ing of the tropics, Dog of the South creates a clueless but not stupid character and a tangeable 'lost' feeling. I've read it a number of times. I like Norwood and True Grit better. (true grit the book and true grit the movie have a very different feel! don't be put off by the film.) I also like his book 'Gringos'. Portis is the best!
SouthernLitFan More than 1 year ago
Do you like weirdo characters, details that are hilariously unimportant, and writing that makes you put the book down and howl out loud with delight? This one's for you. I confess, I like Southern grotesques. This is one.
KLTMD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful example of absurdist fiction, with conversations straight from Eugene Ionesco,:The Dog of the South" is Charles Portis at his best. Midge a ne'er do well wannabe student and former journalist is bereft by the loss of his wife to her former husband and his former co-worker, as well as his shotgun and Ford Torino. He collects their American Express receipts, (they stole his card) to track them down. He follows them to British Honduras and along the way picks up a quack former physician. That is the plot. Everything else in this thin volume is preposterous. I mean that as a complement.
SharonSommers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A funny book From Little Rock to Mexico.I thought this book was so funny with lots of extreme characters. If you want a laugh to perk up your day then this is the book for you.
Hagelstein on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don¿t know if the opening line of The Dog of the South has ever been included in any of those ¿Best First Line¿ lists, but it¿s worthy: ¿My wife Norma had run off with Guy Dupree and I was waiting around for the credit card billings to come in so I could see where they had gone.¿We know what happened and what¿s going to happen - it¿s just a matter of getting there now.The narrator, Ray Midge, a self-described ¿predatory bird¿ look-alike who ¿can expect to be called a rat about three times a year¿ proceeds to track Norma and Guy Dupree through Texas, to Mexico, and finally to British Honduras (now Belize). As the first line suggests, Midge is a man of measured action. Instead of leading into the half-expected violence, The Dog of the South is a story of subtle humor. Along the way Midge runs into several eccentrics, including the shady Dr. Reo Symes, who dispenses such medical wisdom as ¿You¿ll never find a red-headed person in a nuthouse.¿As well as creating nuanced characters, Charles Portis can turn a phrase. A woman that finds herself in a hospital cheers up the sick ¿in the confident manner of a draft-dodger athlete signing autographs for mutilated soldiers.¿ The Dog of the South smolders with outstanding writing. I¿m keeping it close because I know it¿s going to be on my mind until I read it again.
markfinl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book. This is my second time reading it and it's one of the oddest, funniest books I have ever read. Ray Midge's wife has run off with Dupree, Ray's former friend and coworker. Ray uses his American Express statements to track them down, mostly because they have his car and they have left him with Dupree's vastly inferior car. Along the way, Ray meets Dr. Reo Symes, a quack doctor whose mother, "so old she is starting to walk sideways", runs a Christian mission in Belize.I think the secret to this book is that Ray, the narrator, is annoying and pedantic and it's no surprise that Norma would leave him, but Ray is the least annoying person in the book, so he becomes a hero by default.
HHS-Staff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An eccentric novel by the reclusive author from Eldorado, Arkansas (he also wrote TRUE GRIT, from which the award-winning film starring John Wayne was adapted and which I also read this summer). A fussy small-time journalist with way too much starch in his shorts (also, he is mad for military history) awakens to find that a co-worker and acquaintance has left town with his (the journalist's) wife and immaculate Gran Torino. The chase leads through Mexico to South America, and collects some...unusual characters along the way. Uniquely funny and wonderfully anticlimactic. My choice to read the book is a great example of how I read: I was reading an article on filmmaker Errol Morris' website in which Morris mentioned Ron Rosenbaum as one of his favorite authors; I then read EXPLAINING HITLER by Rosenbaum and liked it so much I picked up his feature collection THE SECRET PARTS OF FORTUNE, in the introduction of which Rosenbaum sang the praises of Charles Portis; after picking through SECRET PARTS, I checked out both TRUE GRIT and THE DOG OF THE SOUTH and loved them. Chance discovery and random direction--I wouldn't have it any other way!Reviewed by:Phil OvereemLanguage Arts teacher
arsolot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very funny book by the author of True Grit. It's also very well written with some really odd-ball characters. There's not really much plot, but it's a road trip from Arkansas to Belize. I thought this was very well written. I got a big laugh out of this exchange between the main character, Ray Midge, and Dr. Reo Symes, who was speaking about his days as a medical student at Wooten Institute in New Orleans: He ended the long account by saying that Dr. Wooten "invented clamps.""Medical clamps?" I idly inquired."No, just clamps. He invented the clamp.""I don't understand that. What kind of clamp are you talking about?""Clamps! Clamps! That you hold two things together with! Can't you understand plain English?""Are you saying this man made the first clamp?""He got a patent on it. He invented the clamp.""No, he didn't.""Then who did?""I don't know.""You don't know. And you don't know Smitty Wooten either but you want to tell me he didn't invent the clamp." "He may have invented some special kind of clamp but he didn't invent THE CLAMP. The principle of the clamp was probably known to the Sumerians. You cant' go around saying this fellow from Louisiana invented the clamp." "He was the finest diagnostician of our time. I suppose you deny that too.""That's something else.""No, go ahead. Attack him all you please. He's dead now and can't defend himself. Call him a liar and a bum. . . . "
Larry46 More than 1 year ago
expecting a good Portis read by the author of true grit; Trailer trash humor at it's best;
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Where did the author of True Grit go? He ain't here
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TheAnonymousDude More than 1 year ago
When his wife takes off in his Ford Torino with her ex-husband, an Arkansas slacker follows an obsessive compulsive quest across Mexico and Belize to recover the Torino. I don't want to be a spoiler about the Torino. I do think the author is vague about the identity of "The Dog of the South." That phrase is painted on the side of a school bus briefly appearing in the story. The bus' owner shares much of our slacker's journey and claims to be a "dog of the South." There is also a literal Arkansas canine pursued by the protagonist by way of being the ex-husbands' dog. Other perros appear in passing. Metaphorically, I guess the slacker could be illustrative of a doggish existence. That's the kind of thing authors like Portis like to throw in. I think you should read this book and see what you think. If you "get" this sort of tedious humor you may laugh a lot along the way. That's all I have to say about Portis and his book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SSommers More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was so funny with lots of extreme characters. If you want a laugh to perk up your day then this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someone stated in one of the earlier reviews that some of these characters are just plain weird. I agree. This is a cliche, but I mean it quite literally- this book is about the journey and not the destination. Be prepared though- the protagonist is quite literally a wuss, despite his delusions of grandeur. Overall, a very good book.