Lord of Misrule

Jaimy Gordon, McPherson & Company, $25.00 (296p) ISBN 9780929701837
National Book Award-finalist Gordon's new novel begins and ends at a backwoods race track in early-1970s West Virginia, where horse trainer Tommy Hansel dreams up a scam. He'll run four horses in claiming races at long odds and get out before anyone realizes how good his horses are. But at a track as small as Indian Mound Downs, where everyone knows everybody's business, Hansel's hopes are quickly dashed. Soon his luminous, tragic girlfriend, Maggie, appears, drawing the eye of everyone, including sadistic gangster Joe Dale Bigg. Though Maggie finds herself with an unexpected protector in family gangster Two-Tie, even he can't protect her from her own fascination with the track and its misfit members. While Gordon's latest reaches for Great American Novel status, and her use of the colloquial voice perfectly evokes the time and place, constant shifts in perspective make the novel feel over-styled and under-plotted. And Maggie's supposed charisma clashes with her behavior, leaving the feeling that something's missing whereas Hansel is more witnessed than examined, his character developing almost entirely through the eyes of others, creating uncertainty that often borders on indifference. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/11/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 294 pages - 978-0-85738-669-4
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-307-94673-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4618-3213-3
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-307-74527-9
Open Ebook - 182 pages - 978-0-307-94674-4
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