Lord of Misrule

Lord of Misrule

A Novel

Book - 2010
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A brilliant novel that captures the dusty, dark, and beautiful world of small-time horse racing, where trainers, jockeys, grooms and grifters vie for what little luck is offered at a run-down West Virginia track.

Tommy Hansel has a plan: run four horses, all better than they look on paper, at long odds at Indian Mound Downs, then grab the purse -- or cash a bet -- and run before anyone's the wiser. At his side is Maggie Koderer, who finds herself powerfully drawn to the gorgeous, used up animals of the cheap track. She also lands in the cross-hairs of leading trainer Joe Dale Bigg. But as news of Tommy's plan spreads, from veteran groom Medicine Ed, to loan shark Two-Tie, to Kidstuff the blacksmith, it's Maggie, not Tommy or the handlers of legendary stakes horse Lord of Misrule, who will find what's valuable in a world where everything has a price.
Publisher: Kingston, NY : McPherson & Co., 2010
ISBN: 9780307946737
Characteristics: 294 p. ; 23 cm


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Apr 27, 2016

I spent some of my more formative years at the race track. I think the author did a great job of capturing the feel of the track. It's a unique culture, not unlike the carnival world probably. It takes in all people, generally without judgement. However, there is a clear pecking order. The veiled and not so veiled threats if one stepped out of his or her place in the hierarchy existed when I was there. At first, the style that some people don't like here bothered me, but then I think about some of the people that I worked with and how my operating language changed between when I was in school and the summer when I worked on the backside as a groom. I loved this book. I learned a lot of life lessons on the track, some of which I could've gone without learning really, but it did shape me into who I am.

Dec 04, 2015

I can't believe this book won the National Book Award. It was awful! Poorly written with a story line that went nowhere. I was shocked to learn the author teaches creative writing. I feel sorry for her students. Hopefully, she doesn't make them read this drivel.

Jan 20, 2013

If you like horses and horse racing ( gambling) this book is for you. Winner of the national book award. Quite unique ( but not for everyone)

Jan 27, 2012

Suspicious, I read a couple of pages in the middle --- two people having a boring argument, while one is tied up, what? --- and noticed it was all in the present tense. Then I noticed there's no quotation marks or "he said". It's... modern poetry. In slang. A quick flip shows the entire book is the same. @#$ it, I'm too old and cranky for this. Thanks Falcon52 for the concise review: "illiterate". I agree!

theamazingsteverino Jun 20, 2011

A glimpse into a foreign culture...for most of us, anyway. Slow going out of the starting gate (ugh, sorry for the pun), but if you stay the course (again, apologies), it's well worth the ride (can't help myself). The characters, dialogue, and stories all ring true. Gordon made me interested in a world I didn't even know existed.

Apr 14, 2011

Beautifully written with a unique style. I am looking forward to reading her other books.

Mar 26, 2011

I found several of Jaimy Gordon's previous books to be impossibly convoluted, so was skeptical and curious when it was announced that "Lord of Misrule" was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction this year. This one is different - I am totally gripped by the eccentric characters and their oddball community of errors. Gordon's attention to physical detail, personal mannerisms, and nuances of speech make them sometimes uncomfortably real. And it's very hard to not fall in love with the horses - downtrodden as they are, their spirits are still very powerful. If you like this book, I highly recommend Willy Vlautin's "Lean on Pete," another tale about the dark underbelly of the horse racing world's lowest tier and the odd community of owners, jockeys, trainers, misfits and horses who inhabit it.

Jan 23, 2011



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