Cowboy Dog, The
Runner-up - Fiction - Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2007
When I was eighteen I came into my anger. It had been buried deep, along with my gunbelt, my spurs and my coiled whip. Now I climbed the mountainside, dug, and there it was, as red-eyed as a Gila Monster. It got its teeth into me. I buckled the guns onto my hips and stood with my face to the gritty wind.
Chester Farlowe was twelve when the coward Stronson shot his daddy down.
Chester left the vast cattle ranches of New Zealands central Volcanic Plateau for the badlands of urban Auckland. There he was given shelter by Henry Stroud, proprietor of the I Fry takeaway wagon, and re-christened Mr Dog. There, too, he met the girl, Spoons.
Now, six years later, he is back in those lands where the pylons march across the sky, and looking for revenge. Stronson is waiting, and there must be a showdown. But first there are others to contend with Boss Lennox, Cook, the Sultation Kid, the seductive and inscrutable Miss Peet.
The Cowboy Dog is a stunning extension of the series of novels in which Nigel Cox reconfigures New Zealand experience through the most resonant myths of our time.
Praise for The Cowboy Dog
Named as one of the Listener's Three Best of the Best for 2006
The Cowboy Dog is possibly the greatest of Cox's novels, and certainly the equal of the best of them. It's at once a compulsive, easy read, and an extremely demanding one: the first because of Cox's astonishing narrative voice, and the second because of the subtlety and complexity of his story.
...I've read some wonderful books this year, but I haven't read a better book than this.
David Larsen THE LISTENER
Book of the Week
Words and the objects they evoke are talismans and terrors. Reality is singularly plural, and Cox the supreme shape-shifter delights in its merging, sometimes clashing levels. The plot brims with mystery, fantasy, parody, hilarity, tragedy, the geography of Ponsonby, and a potted survey of country and western songs. Like its precursors, The Cowboy Dog juggles our belief and disbelief with astonishing dexterity.
David Hill DOMINION POST
...it would be stating the obvious to say I think everyone should read this book, and that its one of the best and cleverest Ive ever read.
Kathy Hunter LEAFSALON
I shed a few tears both during and after my reading of [The Cowboy Dog]. It obviously resonated with me.
Ian Williams OTAGO DAILY TIMES
Few local writers in the past have been able to match Cox's skill in creating high-concept novels that still manage to retain real depth and emotional force; the bar has been set pretty high for the next generation of Kiwi authors. ...[The Cowboy Dog] is a worthy final entry in the career of one of New Zealand's best novelists. Highly recommended.
Sam Finnemore CRACCUM
This is both an entertaining and a challenging read. It is perhaps his most lyrical writing and it is indeed a fine final work.
Graham Beattie BEATTIE'S BOOK BLOG
Author of five novels, Nigel was diagnosed with terminal cancer in late 2005 and continued to write until his death in July 2006. He is survived by his wife Susanna Andrew and their three children.