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The Dog of the South
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Group Reads: Pre-1990 > Initial Impressions: Dog of the South by Charles Portis: August 2018

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message 1: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tom Mathews | 2646 comments Mod
Comments on this board should be written with the assumption that not all readers have finished the book. Please avoid revealing any spoilers.


message 2: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 126 comments The humor is surprising me... dry, sweet, unique.


message 3: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tom Mathews | 2646 comments Mod
Janice (JG) wrote: "The humor is surprising me... dry, sweet, unique."

It is all of that. I started this one this morning and am really getting a kick out of it.


message 4: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
Good. I was hoping this would be funny. I need some humor right about now. Starting tonight.


message 5: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tom Mathews | 2646 comments Mod
Some of the conversations are downright whacky.

Speaking of trips to Belize, I just dropped our youngest daughter off at the airport where she will catch a plane to Belize for 8 days of snorkeling and zip-lining.


message 6: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 126 comments I'm hoping something happens soon. I'm getting tired of Symes.


message 7: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
Well, I'm at chapter four and already tired of this book. I see the humor, but it's obviously not my type of humor. This is reminding me of Confederacy of Dunces, which I did not like at all. I will persist for a while to see if it improves.


message 8: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tom Mathews | 2646 comments Mod
I have found that there is not a single character in this book that doesn't qualify as what my dad would refer to as an odd duck. I'd say that no one's life seems to be going as they hoped it would except that I can't for the life of me think of a character who is working towards anything. They are all just drifting on their own cloud.


message 9: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "Well, I'm at chapter four and already tired of this book. I see the humor, but it's obviously not my type of humor. This is reminding me of Confederacy of Dunces, which I did not like at all. I wil..."

I loved A Confederacy of Dunces. But so far Portis offers a smaller cast of characters to follow. John Kennedy Toole cast New Orleans not only as setting, but it served as a character itself. I find little with which to identify in the off the beaten path in The Dog of the South. If possible, Symes is more irritating than Ignatius. I will soldier on. Right now it's tempting to pull out True Grit for a re-read. Better yet, over to Varina. Fifty pages in there and hooked.


message 10: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura | 2121 comments Mod
Amen Lawyer...True Grit for the win!!!!


message 11: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (last edited Aug 03, 2018 11:48AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tom Mathews | 2646 comments Mod
Lawyer wrote: "Symes is more irritating than Ignatius.."

After Symes there is Symes' mother, then Dupre (sp), then...

The cast of irritating characters is endless, or at least it would be if I weren't getting close to the end.


message 12: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
I'm pulling the plug on this one. When I find excuses NOT to read, it's time to throw in the towel. Kudos to those of you continuing the journey.


message 13: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura | 2121 comments Mod
Diane have you read True Grit...no plug pulling with that one?


message 14: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
I read it a long time ago and enjoyed it, then watched both versions of the movie. This book is just not one I can appreciate.


message 15: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 126 comments When I first saw that the "Dog of the South" was the name of this old beater renovated school bus I thought, yes! A road trip in a big old beater bus would be perfect. But no. I haven't finished the book, does the Dog of the South ever show up again? If so, is it worth reading the rest of the book? Because right now, I really don't much care any more. Reading it makes me want to take a shower.

Wish I had gone with Varina, I love Frazier, but it was over my budget.


message 16: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tom Mathews | 2646 comments Mod
I finished this a few days ago and have moved on to Varina. Those of you who have been disappointed with this book may want to move on to that one. It is much different than this.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 111 comments Sorry I'm late! I'm starting this one today.


message 18: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
Cant wait to see what you think, Randy.


message 19: by Judi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judi | 454 comments I too am starting it today. The audio version. I am interested in how it compares to Confederacy of Dunces . . . . . .one of my all time favorite reads.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 111 comments Diane wrote: "Cant wait to see what you think, Randy."

I'm enjoying it so far. I enjoyed Portis' writing style in True Grit and although this story is obviously different the same humor is there. Thumbs up so far!


message 21: by Judi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judi | 454 comments I am only a short way in and it hasn't even made me chuckle. Perhaps it will improve. Not Confederacy of Dunces


message 22: by Judi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judi | 454 comments Diane wrote: "I'm pulling the plug on this one. When I find excuses NOT to read, it's time to throw in the towel. Kudos to those of you continuing the journey."

I hear you Diane. I will give this a little more time and if it doesn't fly, I shall move on.


message 23: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
I just did a quick internet search on Charles Portis. He is 84, lives in Little Rock, Ark, and has not published a novel in 20 years. He has an unlisted phone #, does not use email, does not grant interviews, and shuns photographs. A male version of Harper Lee, except he wrote more than one (2?) books. He is largely considered a comic genius. He specializes in road trip narratives with unlikable characters. Apparently those of us here on the Trail are missing something.


message 24: by RJ - Slayer of Trolls (last edited Aug 14, 2018 04:46PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 111 comments I think this book is hilarious! It reads like it's halfway between Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson which of course is sort of like saying something is halfway between a zebra and the number 32. So it goes.


message 25: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "I just did a quick internet search on Charles Portis. He is 84, lives in Little Rock, Ark, and has not published a novel in 20 years. He has an unlisted phone #, does not use email, does not grant ..."

Diane, I don't think those of us here on the Trail are "missing something" when we found that The Dog of the South didn't appeal to those of us who expressed that opinion. I did find one interview Portis gave to a former journalist colleague. Thirty-seven pages long. It may be found on the Charles Portis page maintained at Rutgers University. Interesting, but it reveals little about the man. In addition to what you cited it is unknown whether Portis has ever married or has or hasn't children. Each of his works is discussed. Of note is the criticism posing the question whether Portis should have ever written True Grit. Uhm, the premise being it doesn't blend well with the rest of his ouevre. Ahem...well, dang. Just, dang.


message 26: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Randy wrote: "I think this book is hilarious! It reads like it's halfway between Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson which of course is sort of like saying something is halfway be..."

Randy, I'm glad you're enjoying the read. Please keep us updated on your impressions.


message 27: by Judi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judi | 454 comments I am getting into this book as move along. Not Confederacy of Dunces, but oddly amusing.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 111 comments I'm about halfway through. The plot of the story is nothing special, just an excuse for the narrator to get on the road and have some wacky encounters with the oddball characters he meets, and of course the narrator is an oddball too. I enjoy Portis' writing and sense of humor so the journey has been fun for me. But I can understand why it's not for everybody.


message 29: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 4115 comments Mod
Judi and Randy, I'm happy that it's working for you.


message 30: by Judi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judi | 454 comments Diane wrote: "Judi and Randy, I'm happy that it's working for you."
It is getting less oddly amusing and more tedious. I will finish it though. I am determined. I am listening to an audio version of this book and the "reader" is not the best. Thus far I am thinking three stars, unless it picks up the pace.


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