Dogfight, A Love Story by Matt Burgess

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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 part of. So now everyone thinks Alfredo snitched on his brother, which may have something to do with the fact that Alfredo is now dating Tariq’s ex-girlfriend, Isabel, who is eight months pregnant. Tariq’s violent streak is probably #1 worry on Alfredo’s list.

Also, he needs to steal a pit bull. For the homecoming dogfight.

Burgess brings to life the rich and vivid milieu of his hometown native Queens in all its glorious variety. Here is the real New York, a place where Pakistanis, Puerto Ricans, Haitians, An ­glos, African Americans, and West Indians scrap and mingle and love. But the real star here is Burgess’s incredible ear for language—the voices of his characters leap off the page in riotous, spot-on dialogue. The outer boroughs have their own language, where a polite greeting is fraught with menace, and an insult can be the expression of the most tender love.

With a story as intricately plotted as a Shakespearean comedy—or revenge tragedy, for that matter—and an electrically colloquial prose style, Dogfight, a Love Story establishes Matt Burgess as an exuberant new voice in contemporary literature. The great Queens novel has arrived.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Matt Burgess

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MATT BURGESS, a twenty-seven-year-old graduate of Dartmouth and the University of Minnesota's MFA pro­gram, grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens.
Published September 21, 2010 by Anchor. 306 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Dogfight, A Love Story

Publishers Weekly

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Burgess's high-octane debut is a post-9/11 shout-out to the borough of Queens, with its roiling mix of cultures. The story chronicles one tense weekend in the life of Alfredo Batista, a 19-year-old Pu

Jul 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Dogfight, A Love Story

The New York Times

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In this explosive novel, a drug-dealing 19-year-old plans a homecoming for his imprisoned brother, whose girlfriend he has impregnated.

Oct 15 2010 | Read Full Review of Dogfight, A Love Story

Star Tribune

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Burgess' novel is hard to put down. The engaging plot is actually the least of its charms -- the story is a lot of fun, but you'll devour this book because of his gorgeous prose.

Sep 18 2010 | Read Full Review of Dogfight, A Love Story

The Anniston Star

... Book review: Dogfight A Love Story - Dogfight A Love Story by Matt Burgess 304
pages; Doubleday $24.95 This reader must be getting old.

Aug 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Dogfight, A Love Story

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