Thursday, January 13, 2011

Opening Sentence of the Day: Lord of Misrule

Inside the back gate of Indian Mound Downs, a hot-walking machine creaked round and round.

-- Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon, which won the National Book Award for 2010. It's a back-of-the-house view of horse racing. 

It was a little hard to get into because there are a lot of characters using racing slang, the main narrator is is an old guy named Medicine Ed who doesn't think or speak too clearly, and much of the narrative is thoughts and dialog, both of which jump around realistically.  It is actually easier to understand if I read it more quickly and let the idea if a whole sentence get to my brain -- reading each word made me stumble.

But once I got into the pace of the book, I became fascinated with it. I'd love to curl up in a corner and read it straight through.


  1. I'm hoping to read this soon when it arrives from the library-only because it's a National Award winner I'm afraid. I despise what really goes on behind the scenes in horse racing and I don't know how honest she gets in this story so I may have to force myself. I look forward to your thoughts on it.

  2. This on my list to read this year...Recommended to me by a dear friend who knows horse racing inside and out. Like Sandra, I'm waiting for it to be available from the library. Glad to hear you're enjoying now that you've got the pace. Maybe that was deliberate on the author's part, given the racing subject matter?

  3. I've come to the conclusion (several times over) that this probably isn't the book for me, but for award-winner completests I suppose it's a must-read. And many have enjoyed it, I'm just turned off by a lot of small things...

  4. So glad you are getting the flow of this. It's worth it and won me over. It was the best book I read last year (although The Siege of Krishnapur was right up there).

    To those who have doubts, my two cents: Gordon captures the ugly AND the noble of the track, without any sugar coating, and the grammar stuff is forgiveable because of the overall quality of the story and execution. Give this one a chance!

  5. I can't wait to read this! sounds so good.

  6. I'm partial, but this novel definitely won me over. Its National Book Award recognition was richly deserved.


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