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The Dog Fighter

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  214 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews

The anonymous narrator of this remarkable debut novel is a young drifter in search of his future. The son of a passionate beauty and gentle doctor, he roams the border between the United States and Mexico, eventually settling in a sleepy Baja town on the verge of transformation. Here he learns to stand face-to-face with dogs in a makeshift ring, to fight for money and fame

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Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2004)
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108th out of 213 books — 531 voters


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Community Reviews

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Hal Long
Oct 02, 2013 Hal Long rated it it was amazing
If you like Cormac McCarthy, particularly the beauty of All the Pretty Horses and the violence of Blood Meridien, then this might be a good book for you. Simple, clean writing that invokes Hemingway, McCarthy and Faulkner. The style captivates and the characters are compelling. The violence runs high and it's definitely cruelty to animals (and humans). So, be prepared. But, once you get past that this is one of my favorites.
Will Byrnes
Nov 02, 2008 Will Byrnes rated it liked it
The narrator of this tale is a young man whose mother has just died. He is violent, urged on by the voice of his grandfather, a primitive. He is a murderer, a harsh uncaring soul eager to prove his strength at any cost. He is used by a woman to kill her lover, then flees to a remote part of Baja Mexico. It is there that the action of the tale ensues. Cancion is a sleepy place, but one in which the future is the prize in a war between a mafia-like developer and the anarcho-literary types who want ...more
David
Apr 13, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though this book can be stylistically mannered, eschewing commas for example, it was entertaining and pleasurable to read. I enjoyed being fully immersed in the author's macho, emphatic language and living in the scarred and caloused skin of the main character. I chose to interpret the storytelling and setting as mythic rather than documentary. As far as realism goes, my more Latin culture-savy friends felt that The Dog Fighter misrepresented Mexico, even to the point of racism. It certainly is ...more
Martin
Dec 31, 2007 Martin rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Dog Haters, Cage Fighters, Michael Vick
I put this book down several times to gather dust before I finally willed my way through it. I'm not a person put off by violence and love books and movies that drip with it. Blood and gore in copious amounts is surely my forte and this book is jam packed with it; think Fight Club with dogs.

To be honest I can't really nail down one reason I didn't love this book. The main character never really gets any where. He doesn't seem to learn anything. His internal struggles stay in park and the story o
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Frank
May 12, 2007 Frank rated it liked it
I generally feel that, in a work of fiction, messing with things like structure and getting creative with punctuation are a waste of a good writer's craft. It doesn't matter how clever you get with these, what matters is solid things like story, character, perspective, and the general arc of the story. I felt this way when I started reading this book. It wasn't until I was nearly done with it that it struck me how much of the chosen grammatical structure of the work contributed to it. It certain ...more
Tara B
Apr 26, 2008 Tara B rated it really liked it
First off, there isn't really war in the political sense, but there is war in this book, so the shelf classification stands.

For a first novel, this is brilliant. The story takes a lot of interesting turns. A lot of people have griped that the protagonist doesn't really evolve, doesn't "go anywhere," and for those people I have one word: Hemingway. This book is way Hemingway-esque. If you don't like the guy, why did you open a book that has his name on the cover? (It's a quote from a critic.)

I do
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Johnfx750
Sep 10, 2009 Johnfx750 rated it really liked it
Shocking tale that doesn't apologize for its disposition and lays it out flat. Grabs you from the first chapter til the last with no holds barred...if you are a dog lover do not read this book !

This is just a precursor to what you are going to encounter with this book... as it bares your own account and how you will digest it. The dogfighter tries to find his manhood in bravery and wrestles with newfound love as only a dogfighter can... Its a wretched story with a painful love song playing in th
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Jason Jordan
Oct 03, 2008 Jason Jordan rated it really liked it
The Dog Fighter (Perennial, 2004) takes some getting used to. In a counterintuitive move, Marc Bojanowski’s debut novel contains the bare minimum as far as punctuation is concerned. You will find no quotation marks, commas, dashes, colons, semicolons, ellipsis, or any other helpful forms of punctuation. Instead, aside from marks native to the Spanish language (accents, etc.), you will only be given words, periods, and question marks. Does that make for a clunky, awkward reading experience at fir ...more
Garrett Mcgeein
Jun 03, 2012 Garrett Mcgeein rated it it was amazing
Seldom have I read a book where the all the characters were so likeable. Through all the betrayals, friendships, and story developments, all the personalities in the novel won my favor; till the last page, I even enjoyed what I suppose would be called 'the villain...' though, those classical distinctions were anything but clear - all the characters were at times villainous or heroic, respectively.

The book's stylistic grammar was also a fresh change of pace; though, admittedly, at times confusing
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Jerry Rocha
Aug 30, 2015 Jerry Rocha rated it really liked it
A well written violent downer, but it's really good.
Andrew
May 01, 2008 Andrew rated it really liked it
This book surprised me. I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting, but this was a really good book. I'm not sure if it was the relatively sparse dialogue or the way the author describes everything, but more than any book I've read in a while every time I opened it it was like taking a little vacation. Spending some time in a quiet little town in Baja. The protagonist is intentionally despicable throughout the beginning of the book, but he grows on you. The ending was unexpected and perfect, with ...more
Jess Genevieve
May 06, 2012 Jess Genevieve rated it liked it
From the very beginning the dark tones and violence made me question whether I'd put the book down and never pick it back up. The characters and the landscape of Cancion were what kept me captivated. The protagonist's journey takes the reader through friendship, love, greed, lust and betrayal. The ending was not at all what I expected and I have to admit I'm pretending things happened differently.
Travis
May 22, 2007 Travis rated it really liked it
brutal, raw, visceral (literally and figuratively),graceful in its violence, somehow nostalgic. hemingwayesque in structure and device. debut novel, always an attractive quality- interesting to glimpse and speculate on a young writer's motivations. wish i had the onions to live as the anonymous narrator.
Patrick
Aug 31, 2010 Patrick rated it really liked it
Bojanowski effectively transports the reader to another time and place, and into the mind of a character most people are never likely to encounter. This book is as much about change as it is about violence, and sometimes change is violent.
Cormac Mccarthy
Apr 30, 2008 Cormac Mccarthy rated it it was amazing
This book is both beautiful and brutal. Surreal and terrifyingly real. Only a writer with the rarest of gifts could create a main character and give him no name, set the story in 1940's Mexico, and have the reader completely invested from page one.
Rose
Jul 26, 2011 Rose rated it it was amazing
I didn't like this book until I was about 50 pages in. I think it;s a good book for a book club, plenty to discuss and leaves you with a few things to think about.
Eric
Mar 30, 2011 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Man this is a hard charger for fans of Cormac McCarthy and the likes. Violent, passionate, poetic...good. I did not want to have to put this book down.
Angie
Feb 22, 2008 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those great finds where I thought the cover looked interesting at the library so i picked it up. An amazing story.
Jessica
Jan 04, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written book even though it is difficult to read at times because of the subject matter it's absolutely worth it.
Bill
Feb 20, 2012 Bill rated it liked it
This was an interesting story and worth the read but I don't know if it's something I would want to read again.
Tony Stumbaugh
Jun 09, 2008 Tony Stumbaugh rated it liked it

Not bad, picked it up on a whim. Funny how books can turn into a love story of sorts. So it goes.
Christopher
Oct 12, 2007 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once I caught the flow (punctuation irregularities), I was enamored with this tale.
Steve
Aug 25, 2010 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An epic poem about desire and violence. Heady and rich.
Harry
Aug 07, 2008 Harry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific, colorful writing.
Nathan
Nathan rated it really liked it
May 27, 2016
Keely
Keely marked it as to-read
Apr 29, 2016
Andy
Andy marked it as to-read
Apr 24, 2016
Alyssa
Alyssa marked it as to-read
Apr 20, 2016
Lokumos
Lokumos marked it as to-read
Mar 29, 2016
Rhiannon
Rhiannon rated it it was amazing
Apr 13, 2016
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