Joan Colby's Reviews > Lord of Misrule

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
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Jun 24, 12

Read from May 29 to June 24, 2012

. I recognized I was in the presence of a fine talent when early on I encountered this description: “He was an unhealthy looking man of a drained cement color.” And of course, I fell for what Hemingway would call “the true gen” of the racetrack setting and characters. One is inclined to think Gordon must have spent years on the backside, but the probability is that, as an English professor, she relied on research. I’d love to know though, as the verisimilitude of “Lord of Misrule” is remarkable. She gets away with striking and poetic phrases without disturbing the narrative, itself quite a feat. A caveat: the plot premise: an out-of-towner arrives with a stable of unknown horses to enter in claiming races with the notion of picking up a gambling score, is not only hackneyed but implausible as such a scheme is well-known to horsemen worldwide. I like that Gordon (who is older than I would have thought) does not condescend to the reader by altering racing lingo or explaining it. Yet, this may however, limit her readership. She deserves the National Book Award that this volume garnered for her.
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