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Where Southern Cross the Dog Review

Where Southern Cross the Dog Review

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Published by: Carey Harrison Weeks on Jul 20, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/20/2010

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 Where Southern Cross the Dog Allen Whitley 2010 – Emerald Book Company-AustinSet in Coahoma County Mississippi’s dusty and sweltering heat, is this summer’sgreat new novel, Where Southern Cross the Dog. Author Allen Whitley smoothly sets the mood for his story with an accompanying CD of field worker and prisoner“hollers” and blues artist and writers’ epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter. All serve as reminders of the social and cultural circumstance of the time, and thesource of birthing pangs that will eventually be recognized as the Delta Blues.Travis Montgomery arrives back in Clarksdale in August 1938 after graduatingfrom Millsaps College in Jackson. Running errands for his father, the county coroner, proves a dull reprieve from school for young Montgomery until mystery,murder, international intrigue and even romance unfolds shortly after returningto his ordinarily quiet hometown.Crossing racial lines, tensions and taboos of the time, young Montgomery quickly finds himself enamored of a young black woman, Hannah Morgan. Together,Travis and Hannah become “involved” not only with each other, but in themystery surrounding the deaths of several black men and the white man who hasconfessed to the murders.The atmosphere of the rural south in the early 20th century and its acceptedmores are spotlighted in the book. Atticus Finch goes against Post-Reconstruction thinking by defending a black man in To Kill a Mockingbird. Where Southern Cross the Dog depicts this situation in reverse as localauthorities of Coahoma County find themselves in the almost unheard of positionof trying a white man for the killing of negroes.In Where Southern Cross the Dog you will travel along highways 49 and 61, made well known by blues singer Robert Johnson, and the Yellow Dog railroad lineturned into song by the “father of the blues”, W.C. Handy. As gandy dancers andsharecropper chants echo, Travis and Hannah discover that the human conditionand the diversity of love can cause one to follow the footsteps of bluesmanJohnson, and indeed, make a deal with the devil.

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