Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

Four horse races and their stakes

This is all about the dialogue. A no doubt about it American dialogue. This novel reminds me of two I’ve read recently – Fat City by Leonard Gardner and Galveston by Nic Pizzolato.  Fat City because of its plunge into the life of a bunch of losers soldiering on only through their love of a dirty sport, and Galveston because of its hard eyed view of American losers, though I think Galveston had, in retrospect, a phony marshmallow heart and Lord of Misrule has a legitimate heart.

The prose was ornate and hard and poetic and enjoyable to read. The only problem was that about 15% of the time the explaining got over convoluted and I had to go back and reread to figure out what was going on. But when the prose was good it was very very good.

The characters were extremely colorful losers and racetrack hangers on - a shared sense of fate, and luck and a sacred love of horses. The plotting was seamless, but then sort of fell apart and the book ended like an episode of Charlie’s Angels from 1976.

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