Friday, December 31, 2010

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

Luckily, a Christmas break lunch visit with Salvatore Scibona reminded me that I had purchased Lord of Misrule the day after it won the National Book Award. On a strong recommendation from Salvatore, I started the book on December 27 and read it as much as I could over the remainder of the Christmas break week - stealing time from family visits and getting out of bed to read after everyone else was asleep. Although I didn't think that a book about horse racing would appeal to me at all, the beauty of Jaimy Gordon's prose made the subject matter secondary. Her vernacular was a quirky as the names of her minor characters - Deucey Gifford, Medicine Ed, Kiddstuff, Suitcase Smithers, Two-Tie, and Joe Dale Bigge. I had to read slowly to isolate plot details from West Virginia dialect of stall conversations and metaphoric descriptions. I would describe it as something like the Cannery Row of horse racing. A lovely Christmas present to myself was carving out the time to read this beautiful book.

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