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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I did not say I was a Bible scholar." "We'll soon know, one way or the other."
Ray Midge is a man on a mission. His wife Norma has taken off with perennial nuisance Guy Dupree, the two of them crossing the country to God knows where in Ray's car. Well, Ray wants his car back. And his wife too, maybe. From this premise Charles Portis crafts a hilarious story full of memorable characters such as Dr Reo Symes whose various unworkable scams would make...
Published on 14 May 2008 by Mark O'Neill

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A STRANGE EXPERIENCE
Just finished Dog Of The South and I am puzzeled as to whether I liked it or not . The story is very simple : Ray Midge's wife Norma runs of with her first weirdo husband Guy Dupree and Ray's car . Ray leaves Arkansas and gives chase in an old banger that drinks oil and is held together with coathangers down through Texas and Mexico to British Honduras where he eventually...
Published on 19 Aug 2011 by Alexander Bryce


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I did not say I was a Bible scholar." "We'll soon know, one way or the other.", 14 May 2008
By 
Mark O'Neill (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dog of the South (Paperback)
Ray Midge is a man on a mission. His wife Norma has taken off with perennial nuisance Guy Dupree, the two of them crossing the country to God knows where in Ray's car. Well, Ray wants his car back. And his wife too, maybe. From this premise Charles Portis crafts a hilarious story full of memorable characters such as Dr Reo Symes whose various unworkable scams would make Del Boy blush, and his mother, intent on proving that Jesus did not turn water into alcoholic wine but "unfermented grape juice".

The Dog of the South is packed with brilliantly funny dialogue and understatedly beautiful writing. I would recommend all of Portis's wonderful books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars General hilarity., 4 April 2011
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This review is from: The Dog of the South (Paperback)
This short novel reminds me of a cross between "Diary of a Nobody" and "On the Road".It's packed full of off beat humour at the expense of its central character and narrator who coasts nerdishly through its pages dispensing car maintenance tips and lifestyle advice to anyone unlucky enough to be collared by him.The point is that he never gets the point.

The storyline is minimal but largely irrelevant since the reader's interest is held by the parade of crackpots and catalogue of weird incidents and encounters that Ray,the narrator,experiences in his travels.Having said that,there is an impression of drift at times which poses questions about Portis's sense of direction.This impression was heightened for me by the fact that this book came in the wake of the truly brilliant "True Grit" which never for a second lacks drive.

Having made this one caveat,I must stress that the book contains many moments of eye watering humour and is well worth a read.In my experience,Portis is truly an original and supremely talented writer.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A STRANGE EXPERIENCE, 19 Aug 2011
By 
Alexander Bryce (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dog of the South (Paperback)
Just finished Dog Of The South and I am puzzeled as to whether I liked it or not . The story is very simple : Ray Midge's wife Norma runs of with her first weirdo husband Guy Dupree and Ray's car . Ray leaves Arkansas and gives chase in an old banger that drinks oil and is held together with coathangers down through Texas and Mexico to British Honduras where he eventually finds her and his car . Not sure which was the more important find .

Along the way he meets an assortment of strange characters e.g. Dr. Symes a struck off medical practitioner who comes on board for the run down to Belize where his old mother surrounded by an assortment of eccentrics, runs her own church .
If that were all there was to it I would have given up on it , but there is more . There is fantastic , beautifully constructed , amusing dialogue and keenly drawn characters with outrageous opinions on all matters whether relevant or not .

After a while however, good as it is, I tired of the endless dialogue and lack of story advancement so to keep myself interested I tried reading it in the voice of Arlo Guthrie a la Alice's Restaurant . This worked for about another 100 pages then it became old by which time I was near the end and kept going in my own drawl to the rather predictable conclusion .

Did I enjoy it ? Well I really don't know , but I will try Charles Portis's other work so I guess that I did get something from it .
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recovering your Ford Torino and wife, in that order, 10 Jan 2008
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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The hero of THE DOG OF THE SOUTH is Ray Midge, an unemployed, twenty-six year old underachiever from Little Rock, AK. Ray's wife, Norma, has just run off with her first husband, Guy Dupree, accompanied by Ray's credit cards and his prized Ford Torino. Guided southwards towards Mexico and beyond by an elongating trail of credit card receipts, Ray sets out in Guy's abandoned and dilapidated 1963 Buick Special to recover his wheels and, almost as an afterthought, his wife.

Arriving in Mexico, Ray realizes that Guy is headed to a family-owned farm in British Honduras. While in chase, Ray makes the acquaintance of Dr. Rheo Syms, an aging and overweight scam artist, snake-oil salesman, and discredited M.D. living out of an old and immobilized school bus christened "The Dog of the South". Midge offers Syms a ride to Honduras, where the latter's mother runs a Christian mission in the nation's capital city. Mrs. Syms holds title to an undeveloped island in the Mississippi River, and Rheo needs to pry it out of her hands for a money-making scheme of his own.

The initial attraction of the book is the disarmingly engaging personality of Midge. Ray, though socially and financially adrift at the moment, is not without intelligence and is apparently well-read and self-taught on a number of subjects, e.g. the Civil War. Though the quest for his lost Torino and Norma may be naive and ill-considered, his single-minded pursuit of the two is admirable, especially as he persists in the face of Rheo's dreamy and meandering disconnect from reality, or at least reality as Ray perceives it. Ray is basically good-hearted, generous, and loyal to his commitments, everything that Syms is not in comparison. In Ray's place, the average reader would perhaps be sorely tempted to jettison Syms and get on with it.

For those that wonder about such things, the timeframe of the plot isn't completely clear. It's obviously between 1963 - the model year of the Buick - and 1973, when British Honduras was renamed "Belize". And, it's at a time when gas was still 22.9 cents a gallon. On this last far-distant point, memory fails.

THE DOG OF THE SOUTH at first reminded me superficially of 1967's highly amusing comedic film, THE FLIM-FLAM MAN, starring Michael Sarrazin and George C. Scott, wherein a relatively normal, young man falls under the influence of an older, world-wise con artist. However, that preconception swiftly dissipated as Ray arrives in Honduras and must there cope with haphazard and frustrating circumstances that, while not actually revealing Midge to be a certified nut case, certainly cause him to lose his grip just a little.

The point of the novel is, I guess, the order that (every)one seeks in a decidedly messy world. Find a secure handhold and hang on for the ride, if you can.

THE DOG OF THE SOUTH was a low key book that was interesting enough for me to finish, but not one that I'd necessarily recommend to anyone, friend or enemy. This is, perhaps, the closest I can come to a definition of "3-star".
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bewilderingly funny, 1 July 2011
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Mr. J. Cook - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dog of the South (Paperback)
It is a mystery and a travesty that Charles Portis is not better-known. True Grit was an unexpected delight and Dog of the South is every bit as good. He's one of the few writers incapable it seems of writing a bad sentence or putting a word out of place, which puts him up there with Evelyn Waugh, Raymond Carver and, er, I can't think of anyone else. His world is as inimitable and consuming as that of Conrad or Chandler. As a comic genius, the only equal in my eyes is the aforementioned Waugh, and perhaps Mark Twain at his best. If you think I'm exaggerating, then you haven't yet read any of his books.
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8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone must read this book, 20 April 1999
By A Customer
This is the funniest American novel since Twain. My wife and I have hoarded three hardcover copies since 1978, lending them only to people willing to sign sworn affidavits promising to return them. I've reread it at least once a year for the last twenty years. Absolutely required.
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a dog of a book, 19 May 2011
This review is from: The Dog of the South (Paperback)
Having enjoyed the recent film version of True Grit and looking to read the book that the film is based on i was tempted by reviews to buy Dog of the South as it is by the same author and sounded good. How wrong i was . Having started the book i stayed with it hoping it would have some thing of the fun that the reviews suggested- maybe i didn't get the jokes or didn't follow the story. It was murder- the story rambled on and never got going. It was based on an unusual premise so i was intregued to find out what happened but wish i hadn't bothered. Dog of a Book would be more appropriate for a title
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The Dog of the South
The Dog of the South by Charles Portis (Paperback - 1 Aug 2005)
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