Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

The setting is a West Virginia racetrack where there are no mint juleps and everyone is either down on their luck or headed that way. Drawn by her passion for a wayward man and his run-down horses, a young woman dumps her barely there food-writing career and mistakenly starts to think of the track as home, taking foolish pleasure in the dangerous place. Jaimy Gordon, the dark-horse winner of this year's National Book Award, averages only a book a decade; as you get lost in her moody, poetic, darkly funny prose, you understand why. Craftsmanship like this takes time.