Gritty. Dark. Unforgiving. Yet, hopeful, uplifting, and worth the effort.
Dogfight was challenging to get into at first. Taking place in Queens, “a place where Pakistanis, Puerto Ricans, Haitians, Anglos, African Americans, and West Indians scrap and mingle with love”, it was a world that I have never known. Drug dealing is a way of life. Relatives in prison are nothing new. It made me feel sad and so dirty that I wanted to take a shower.
I hung in there because it felt so authentic. Burgess brought me along with his characters; I felt included. The prose was like nothing I have ever read. How can a writer make sleeping next to your boyfriend that smells like B.O., on his parent’s pull-out couch in the living room sound beautiful?
He drew me in. I cared what was going to happen to Alfredo. I wanted to see what happened to him when his brother, Tariq, is released from prison to find that not only has Alfredo stolen his girl, but is pregnant with his nephew. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself pretty well adjusted and I would have been miffed if I was Tariq.
When Alfredo decides to throw his brother a welcome home dogfight, it seems like a crazy idea, but fights right in with the world that they live in. The whole thing was like an out of body experience, a peek into another life. A life that is harder than anything I have ever imagined. It made me feel for the characters, root for them.
The ending is just as gritty, but silly and hopeful at the same time. Can you tell that I am struggling here? Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book. I just feel like I have to include a warning label. Leave the world you know behind. Lose yourself in another life, another kind of love story. It will make you grateful for what you have.
Incredible story from a new voice, Mark Burgess.
Dogfight, A Love Story by Mark Burgess
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday (September 21, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385532989
- ISBN-13: 978-0385532983