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Dogfight, A Love Story
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Dogfight, A Love Story

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  472 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
What Jonathan Lethem did for Brooklyn, Matt Burgess does for Queens in this exuberant and brilliant debut novel about a young drug dealer having a very bad weekend.

Alfredo Batista has some worries. Okay, a lot of worries. His older brother, Jose—sorry, Tariq—is returning from a stretch in prison after an unsuccessful robbery, a burglary that Alfredo was supposed to be par
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 21st 2010 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2010)
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Dogfight, A Love Story by Matt Burgess, in my opinion was “OK.” I say that because, overall, I have mixed feelings about the novel. On one hand, I think “Matt Burgess is a great writer. He sure knows how to keep a reader’s attention.” Then on the other hand, I think “Can I have a better story, please?” The story has potential. I just believe it needs to be rewritten. With that it often comes off to me as a homage. A homage to many things. I ‘m not quite sure if that wa
Great premise and the book started off with promise. Alfredo Batista, from Queens, NYC, is in a bit of a conundrum. Because although he is happy that his brother José is returning home from doing time upstate, he also has some major worries. One being that he has to figure out a way to get a pit bull for Jose's homecoming dogfight, and the other is that he's heard rumors his brother (who has converted to Islam while inside and changed his name to Tariq) might think that Alfredo is responsible fo ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Aug 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is advertised as the first real Queens Novel, set in that Borough with its large immigrant population coexisting side by side, imparting an international alphabet soup quality to the story and the characters. Nobody writes so well about New York as her inhabitants, and Burgess is a welcome addition to this group. Yes, Jonathan Letham writes knowingly and lovingly about Brooklyn, but this novel seems to owe as much to Richard Price's Lush Life as to anything else, or any of Pete Hammill's ev ...more
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
this book gave me some Junot Diaz and Raising Victor Vargas vibes. the second half of the book is a bit darker and the ending falls a little flat but this book was a nice little surprise.
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, nyc
This guy really nails Queens.
Trudy Ackerblade
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
What an unusual but captivating story.
Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Matt Burgess's debut novel, Dogfight, A Love Story (published last September), is a helluva first novel. It takes place over the course of a single weekend in Jackson Heights, Queens, in the summer of 2002. While the plot isn't overly complex or complicated, though it is well crafted, a lot happens in this novel. I'll leave off giving a complete plot summary (I probably couldn't do it justice), but it involves nineteen year-old Alfredo Bautista, a small-time independent drug dealer. Alfredo is a ...more
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Oct 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, nook
It seems as though I’ve fallen into a cycle of reading very well written books that offer up only mildly interesting stories in exchange for the time I’ve spent consuming them. Dogfight isn’t horrible by any stretch, as a matter of fact, the first third of the book is surprisingly wonderful, but after that it quickly tapers off and becomes something far less enjoyable. Add to the mix an ending that feels tacked on and unbelievable given the first three hundred pages and what you’re left with is ...more
Kara Jorges
Dec 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
I can imagine literary critics everywhere gushing and blubbering as they turn the pages of this book because, quite frankly, I hated it. I was hoping for an entertaining crime novel with some humor between its pages, and got mired in a literary snoozefest instead. I’m sure there are readers out there who love this sort of thing, but I’m not one of them.

Alfredo Batista is worried, now that his brother Jose Jr., who renamed himself Tariq after he turned Muslim in prison, is coming home. Rumors hav
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Matt Burgess nails his first novel, this book is great. While he plays up stereotypes and cliches, he does it in a creative way and with an electric story. Dogfight, a Love Story is reminiscent of the Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - it has a Latin flavor, with vulgar undertones, and a look into the streets of Queens. Burgess is witty, clever, and has a unique writing style. I read this book in a weekend, I was wrapped up in the characters and the story and really had no idea how it would ...more
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Before graduating from Dartmouth College and the University of Minnesota’s MFA program, Matt Burgess grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens. His hometown has served as the location for both his first novel, Dogfight, A Love Story, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, and his second novel, Uncle Janice.
More about Matt Burgess...