Vintage Contemporaries

Lord of Misrule

Publisher: Vintage
A brilliant novel that captures the dusty, dark, and beautiful world of small-time horse racing, where trainers, jockeys, grooms and grifters vie for what little luck is offered at a run-down West Virginia track.
 
Tommy Hansel has a plan: run four horses, all better than they look on paper, at long odds at Indian Mound Downs, then grab the purse -- or cash a bet -- and run before anyone’s the wiser. At his side is Maggie Koderer, who finds herself powerfully drawn to the gorgeous, used up animals of the cheap track. She also lands in the cross-hairs of leading trainer Joe Dale Bigg. But as news of Tommy’s plan spreads, from veteran groom Medicine Ed, to loan shark Two-Tie, to Kidstuff the blacksmith, it’s Maggie, not Tommy or the handlers of legendary stakes horse Lord of Misrule, who will find what's valuable in a world where everything has a price.

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Inside the back gate of Indian Mound Downs, a hot-walking machine creaked round and round. In the judgment of Medicine Ed, walking a horse himself on the shedrow of Barn Z, the going-nowhere contraption must be the lost soul of this cheap racetrack where he been ended up at. It was stuck there in the gate, so you couldn...
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READING GUIDE

The questions, discussion topics, and suggestions for further reading that follow are designed to enhance your group's discussion of Lord of Misrule, Jaimy Gordon's award-winning novel of the dusty, dark, and beautiful world of small-time horse racing.

1. What does Maggie’s arrival at Indian Mound...

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PRAISE FOR

“Assured, exotic and uncategorizable… an incontrovertible winner, a bona fide bolt from the blue.”—The New York Times

“A beautifully written novel…. Gordon has completely mastered the language of the racetrack.”—Jane Smiley, The Washington Post
 
Lord of Misrule is filled with memorable characters who exist on the fringe, making up a whole world …. Gordon’s language is so textured that her pages seem three-dimensional.”  --Los Angeles Times
 
“I was mesmerized. . . . Lord of Misrule beautifully captures language of the racetrack”—Andrew Beyer, The Daily Racing Form

“Both richly literary and red-blooded in its depictions of the sporting life, Lord of Misrule gives readers several compelling races, including a completely unexpected but fitting finale.”—Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

“An exuberant, jazzy novel about rough characters -- both equine and two-footed.”—The Plain Dealer
 
“Gordon’s characters . . . are complex and finely drawn. . . . [Gordon] unspools a plot of corruption and intrigue.”—The New Yorker
 
“Moody, poetic, darkly funny prose.”—Time
 
“[A] magical tale about a dusty West Virginia town and its downtrodden racetrack.”—NPR
 
“Unlike any novel you'll read this year—and maybe next.”—Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“A tour de force of energy and esprit.”—Kirkus, starred review
 
“Moving and lyrical . . . [A] nearly word perfect novel”—Booklist
 
“Gordon’s writing will grab and pull you in.”—Bloomberg News