Lord of Misrule Author:Jaimy Gordon Winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Fiction — Thoroughbred horse trainer Tommy Hansel has a scheme to rescue his failing operation by shipping four unclassed horses to Indian Mound Downs, run them in cheap claimers at long odds, and then get out fast before anyone notices. The problem is, at this rundown riverfront half-mi... more »le racetrack in the West Virginia panhandle, everybody notices from the start -- Kidstuff the farrier, track super Smithers, an old groom Medicine Ed, gypsy owner Deucey Gifford, eventually even the ruled-off bookmaker Two-Tie, and an ominous trainer, Joe Dale Bigg. But no-one factors in Hansel's go-for girlfriend, Margaret Koderer. Much like the beautiful, used-up, tragic creatures she comes to love, Maggie is almost a force of nature, an adventuress with enough personal magnetism to spin everyone's sure thing right back to the source of all luck.« less
I was hoping to like this book but it just didn't hit the mark for me. The setting is a down and out race track in Virginia in the 1970's with "claim" races. Each character has their own ethnic dialect and the each chapter is told from the POV of one of characters. I found it light on character development and plot and heavy on repetition. Some of the characters were interesting but I did not learn enough about any of them to be able to identify with them or appreciate them. Much of the novel is written in stream of consciousness narrative and there are no quotation marks - this did not bother me but others may find it difficult to read. The author seemed to be influenced by Faulkner. Lord of Misrule is the name of the horse in the last section and the one we learn the least about.
I liked this quote from the NY Times review of Lord of Misrule: "And Ms. Gordon is a showy enough linguist to make gloriously apt use of the words hierodule, unmiscible and catawamptious. Bet on this: youll never see those three words in the same book again."