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Lord of Misrule | [Jaimy Gordon]

Lord of Misrule

At the rock-bottom end of the sport of kings sits the ruthless and often violent world of cheap horse racing, where trainers and jockeys, grooms and hotwalkers, loan sharks and touts are all struggling to take an edge, or prove their luck, or just survive. Equal parts Nathanael West, Damon Runyon and Eudora Welty, Lord of Misrule follows five characters -- scarred and lonely dreamers in the American grain -- through a year and four races at Indian Mound Downs, downriver from Wheeling, West Virginia.
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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Fiction, 2010

At the rock-bottom end of the sport of kings sits the ruthless and often violent world of cheap horse racing, where trainers and jockeys, grooms and hotwalkers, loan sharks and touts are all struggling to take an edge, or prove their luck, or just survive.

Equal parts Nathanael West, Damon Runyon and Eudora Welty, Lord of Misrule follows five characters -- scarred and lonely dreamers in the American grain -- through a year and four races at Indian Mound Downs, downriver from Wheeling, West Virginia. Horseman Tommy Hansel has a scheme to rescue his failing stable: He'll ship four unknown but ready horses to Indian Mound Downs, run them in cheap claiming races at long odds, and then gut out fast before anyone notices. The problem is, at this rundown riverfront half-maile racetrack in the Northern Panhandle, everybody notices -- veteran groom Medicine Ed, Kidstuff the blacksmith, old lady "gyp" Deucey Gifford, stall superintendent Suitcase Smithers, eventually even the ruled-off "racetrack financier" Two-Tie and the ominous leading trainer, Joe Dale Bigg. But no one bothers to factor in Tommy Hansel's go-fer girlfriend, Maggie Koderer. Like the beautiful, used-up, tragic horses she comes to love, Maggie has just enough heart to wire everyone's flagging hopes back to the source of all luck.

©2010 Jaimy Gordon (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.1 (58 )
5 star
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3.2 (35 )
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Story
3.6 (35 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Fran Foster, RI, United States 03-06-11
    Fran Foster, RI, United States 03-06-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    "Worthy of the National Book Award"

    Marvelous language, fully developed characters that draw you in instantly. Myra Lucretia Taylor is a masterful reader who has made each character distinctive. A great listen even if you aren't into horses or racing.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Bloomington, IN, United States 03-19-13
    Don Bloomington, IN, United States 03-19-13 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I Felt Like I Was Working at the Track"
    What did you love best about Lord of Misrule?

    The dialogue and the voices of the characters was great; and the characters themselves were also fascinating and real in a "Runyonesque" sort of way.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I really liked the general flow of the story.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There were many scenes that worked well, but one does not particularly stand out over the others.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, but I seldom do.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator (or reader) did an excellent job with this book. She made the characters and the story feel very real.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia MOUNT LAUREL, NJ, United States 12-05-11
    Patricia MOUNT LAUREL, NJ, United States 12-05-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    8
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    "Tough read"

    I'm a horse lover and was really looking forward to an enjoyable read. I was terribly disappointed to find it very hard going. Not being conversant with racetrack lingo I had a hard time understanding what was going on even when there were explanations because they were made using that same lingo. I gave up then returned to the book several times but have not yet been able to get into it. I feel like a hopelessly lost outsider struggling and failing to comprehend what's going on. Perhaps reading the actual book first will help but at present it seems a waste. I'm looking for entertainment not a study course in which I have to have reference books at hand.
    On another note, the reader was a surprise, being female (If left up to me I would have opted for a male reader), but I felt she had a good grasp of the characters and an excellent range of voices and I quickly became comfortable with her.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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