3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
horses for courses,
This review is from: Lord of Misrule (Hardcover)
It took a while to get into, but then I suddenly found myself captivated by the old black groom, the gentlemanly Jewish loan shark, the memorable and wonderful - not anthropomorphized but rather deeply felt and imagined - horses, and the rising sense of something less than tragedy and more than predestined ill luck that twists the fates of all involved.
Gordon sets an atmospheric scene and some wonderful turns of phrase:
"...And then he does go down. The small, glittering, patched-together black devil, Lord of Misrule, rolling, skidding in the dust, scarred black legs flailing. Because the dying Mahdi has backed into him. Bumped him. And Lord of Misrule, only a phantom horse, twisted together in haste in the Devil's workshop out of abortionists' black wire hangers and the patent leather raincoats of pimps and whores, can't possibly move like a living thing, change leads, get out of the way. Down, down he goes and rolls away from the rail--into Little Spinoza, who goes down too."
This is a left-field winner in many ways, from a small press and contending against a bunch of famous heavy-hitters, set as it is on a dingy third-rate race track in the dingy beginning of the seventies, peppered with track jargon, shifting perspective which doesn't always work, and with a kind of intentional (?) opaque hole in the center where one of the protagonists acts as an unknowable agent of change. It is Tommy Hansel, owner of the 4 horses whose year on the Mound we follow, lover of Maggie, brother to a dead twin sister, who is the real Lord of Misrule, though there is a sense throughout the novel that everyone is complicit in their eventual fate, and everyone gets not what they dream of but what they deserve.