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Extended Audio Sample Dogfight, A Love Story Audiobook, by Matt Burgess Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (311 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matt Burgess Narrator: Ozzie Rodriguez Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2010 ISBN: 9780307749284
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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.


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Quotes & Awards

  • “With an acute ear for dialogue and the poetry of the street, Burgess…gives us the pizzerias and bodegas, playgrounds and schoolyards, barbershops and bowling alleys of his home turf. His is a cliché-free depiction of gritty urban reality, reminiscent of Richard Price”

    New York Times

  • With an acute ear for dialogue and the poetry of the street.....a cliche-free depiction of gritty urban reality, reminiscent of Richard Price. But Burgess's city novel is less 'Clockers' than 'Portrait of the Artist as an Ambivalent Drug Dealer.....bursts of narrative bravado....DOGFIGHT burns through this explosive weekend like a lighted fuse.....takes a mighty swing at this streetwise drama about loyalty and betrayal New York Times Book Review
  • Arresting and vibrant....electrifying Vanity Fair
  • Matt Burgess’s debut novel is a beautifully made, street-smart novel that is both funny and disturbing. Written with an almost furious energy, Dogfight has an amazingly well-rounded cast of characters and a plot that leads up to a violent and probably inevitable climax. This is the best first novel I have read in years. Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love and The Soul Thief
  • Dogfight takes you on a gritty tour of a city exploding with diversity, violence, and love. Matt Burgess is a major talent, blessed with a unique voice full of humor and an attitude that’s ready to elbow its way into American letters. Ernesto Quiñonez, author of Bodega Dreams
  • Matt Burgess' "Dogfight, A Love Story" was my most memorable read of 2010. As the title implies, the novel mixes everyday urban conflict with slice-of-life tenderness and momentary grace. Burgess captures the bass-heavy symphony of the neighborhood and gets the voices just right. Mixing the comedic and dramatic is a tricky thing to pull off, but the author does so with astonishing success. Most surprisingly, this is his literary debut. I can hardly wait to see what he comes up with next. George Pelacanos
  • Every once in a while you come across a book that completely captures a place. Even if you've never been there yourself, it's like you can see it, smell it, taste it. Theres a new novel out that does that for New York. Specifically: the borough of Queens. Author Matt Burgess nails the places. NPR's Weekend Edition
  • The hilarious, harrowing story of an extremely bad weekend in the life of 19-year-old Alfredo Batista, a very small-time drug dealer with some very big problems, including the Mob, a seven-months-pregnant girlfriend, and an ex-con older brother who just might want to bash Alfredo’s head in.  Oh, and there’s the small matter of the pit bull Alfredo needs to steal, for the Homecoming dogfight.  Poor dog.  Poor Alfredo.  I couldn’t stop laughing. Ben Fountain, bestselling author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
  • [A] talent to watch. He possesses an ear for dialogue that rivals Richard Price and a pacy sense of plot reminiscent of another fantastic recent debut, Josh Bazell's "Beat the Reaper". His style is strikingly visual—Mr Burgess doesn't sketch scenes so much as paint them as big and bright as a playground mural.....Burgess is an energetic and disciplined writer. Most importantly, "Dogfight" is tremendously fun to read. The Economist
  • Absorbing....rich....Like those before him, Burgess lives and dies by the credibility of his dialogue and details, and his portrayal is clearly the product of much close study. Time Out New York 
  • Matt Burgess serves up a savory dish with his new novel, but the meat of the story is his writing....[an]exciting and really-tough-to-put-down novel....The plot is fun, original, addictive....The landscape Burgess paints (setting: Jackson Heights, Queens) has the alluring exoticism of a Gauguin....not merely funny or incisive but also feel true, and intimately so, as if revealing to us hidden parts of a world we already know....There's something more expansive at play here, as we watch Alfredo grapple with his conscience and fall deeper into an unknown yet eerily familiar world. Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Sharp wit and enormous heart fill the pages of Dogfight, A Love Story.....intense, emotional and funny....a dazzling debut MetroMag
  • Selected for the November 2010 Indie Next List
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bridgette | 2/5/2014

    " Starting to read this 2011 Alex Award Nominee. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dana | 2/1/2014

    " Matt's brilliant...and I'm not just saying that because he married one of my great friends from high school and we have become friends...he really is brilliant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 1/29/2014

    " Another nice surprise from the library shelves (although it might be 3.5). It is love story Queens style with a low level drug dealer as the protagonist who is trying to organize a dogfight for his brother's prison homecoming. There is so much tension throughout the book and the characters are great. It is just a story about some kids from Queens so even when they win they are still stuck- the end is this perfect mix of happy and heartbreaking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 1/29/2014

    " I liked it - a completely new story, and characters so very real. A very slight part of my enthusiasm may come from my current infatuation with Brooklyn (though the book takes place in Queens - I felt a connection). I recomend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia | 1/19/2014

    " 3.5, but parts of this book are so good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 1/18/2014

    " A New Yorker transplanted to Minneapolis, writes a New York story through and through. A hapless drug dealer, a botched robbery, and a dogfight to welcome his brother home from prison. It all goes profoundly wrong. Great descriptions. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 1/17/2014

    " Enjoyed reading this for bookclub. There were definitely some interesting characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 1/17/2014

    " Definitely an entertaining and quick paced story. I didn't connect with any one character but I still felt like I knew each one and understood their struggle. The plot was good, at times funny and the ending left me satisfied. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paige | 10/29/2013

    " A really good book that is filled with flawed characters that you care about and by the end, you all want to know more about them. Just a glimpse of life in Queens. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/20/2013

    " I really liked this book, surprisingly. Even though some of the content was difficult to read (drug use, violence, dysfunctional family relationships, and a dogfight), the story was interesting and kept me engaged as a reader. There was plenty of action and the characters were easy to follow. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca Renner | 10/17/2013

    " It started out strong but failed to keep that momentum. Somehow I lost interest as soon as we entered Tariq's perspective. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dora | 10/4/2013

    " Though not of a content I would generally read, the novel was well done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dysmonia Kuiper | 10/3/2013

    " An unfortunate title for a surprisingly good novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurelyn | 8/22/2013

    " Well written and entertaining but I didn't really like any of the characters so it was only three stars for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vanessa | 4/22/2013

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Norman | 1/5/2013

    " not quite fortress of solitude, but well written story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christian | 8/15/2011

    " What a great read! I loved it. The energy and humor felt very authentic, not only of NYC but of that year (1992) in the city. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 4/12/2011

    " There were some great characters in this book. I liked how the author would even take a break from the main story to give the background story on some of the lesser characters. There were a few things I did't like near the end, but I'd have to write some spoilers to describe it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annie | 4/9/2011

    " This is an author to watch. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jackson | 4/4/2011

    " An amazing debut novel written in a smart-mouthed 'it is what it is' New York way. Loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 4/3/2011

    " Enjoyed reading this for bookclub. There were definitely some interesting characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 4/3/2011

    " I liked it - a completely new story, and characters so very real. A very slight part of my enthusiasm may come from my current infatuation with Brooklyn (though the book takes place in Queens - I felt a connection). I recomend it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 3/14/2011

    " Original. Parts of this book were very good, but thought uneven. Overall, a solid 3. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 2/13/2011

    " This is my book club book, and I'm excited to discuss. Someone in my book club knows the author, which is why we picked it. I didn't love it, but definitely liked it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dora | 1/31/2011

    " Though not of a content I would generally read, the novel was well done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Norman | 12/27/2010

    " not quite fortress of solitude, but well written story. "

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About the Author

Matt Burgess is the critically acclaimed author of Dogfight, A Love Story. A graduate of Dartmouth and the University of Minnesota’s MFA program, he grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens.

About the Narrator

Ozzie Rodriguez is a narrator, voice artist, and actor of film, television, and the stage, performing in many independent features, such as My Life: Untitled, Escape from South LA, and his co-produced, self-written project Elevator