Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2013: Eight-year-old Robert Chatham has lost everything--friends, family, home--to the fast waters of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. He lights out across the country, a refugee seeking shelter with (and from) a Homer-esque cast of misfits, hucksters, and ne’er-do-wells: the ladies of a “hotel” of ill repute; a piano player whose talent for the blues matches his seemingly supernatural powers of healing; a close-knit clan of trappers, living in a swampland itself marked for flood behind the wall of a WPA dam. Wherever he finds himself, Robert is gripped and propelled by his fear of a devil closing in behind him. The book’s lineage is clear--the ghosts of O’Connor and Faulkner stalk these pages--but pigeonholing Bill Cheng’s remarkable debut as a Southern Gothic shortchanges the power and originality of its language, the artfulness of its voice. Cheng has written a Bildungsroman of the South, a tale of a country submerged again and again--literally and otherwise--under the high tides of the 20th century. --Jon Foro --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
*Starred Review* In this novel of narcotic heat, biblical storms, virulent racism, bloodshed, mojo, taboo love, and the hell-bent destruction of a teeming wilderness, Cheng dives deeply into the realm of tall tales and blues. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 casts Cheng’s young characters out into a world of tooth and claw, gun and knife, brutality and enslavement. Lovely Dora is being held captive by a ruthless man who is looting abandoned houses. Robert, who feels hounded and haunted, has endured his brother’s lynching, his mother’s madness, and the misery of a government tent city by the time he ends up working for room and board at a friendly brothel. Eli, a piano player of prodigious skill and a healer of dubious powers, tells Robert that he is “bad crossed” and gives him a pouch to wear to ward off the devil. Robert does miraculously survive harrowing ordeals while working construction on a dam that will bring electricity and full-force capitalism to the South and warring with a savage swamp trapper whose hunter-gatherer existence is doomed. In this brooding, spine-chilling southern odyssey, Cheng’s interpretation of a place of bone-deep suffering and rare flashes of grace is bold and piercing, and his darkly rhapsodic language is so imaginative and highly charged that each word seems newly forged. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Editorial Reviews
Bill Cheng is talented. I enjoyed reading many parts of his book. From a historical and cultural standpoint the various parts of the story were fascinating but I was confused... Read morePublished 18 days ago by kev
Jumped around to much and when it didn't, it drug itself along like a dog with broken legs.Published 1 month ago by Hiram Davis
Characters are vivid. Settings even more so. Often I wanted one or more of the characters to do something differently than the choice they made. No pretense here. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Linda D. Hill
This book surprised me. The elegance and the beauty with which Cheng writes about the lowlands and the American South took me aback. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Andrew P. Wheeler
I guess I have no right to write a review, not having read the book, but I just can't resist. Having read the negative reviews and reading the first few lines of the book, I... Read morePublished 2 months ago by bestgirl
Robert Lee Chatham is cursed. He is a young African American boy living in Mississippi in the late 1920's when heavy rains come and flood the area. Read morePublished 2 months ago by BirdieTracy
I swear that I don't know what a lot of books are supposed to be about these days. This one was rambling and disjointed from a timeline perspective. Read morePublished 6 months ago by S. Whitworth