Sport of Kings

Sport of Kings

Book - 2016
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The daring, inventive novel (a sprawling family saga set in Kentucky that combines southern gothic with the drama of horse racing) from a brilliant young author named one of The New Yorker 's "20 Best Writers Under 40."

Here is the ambitious, strikingly original, and dazzling new novel from a young writer whose first novel, All the Living , received passionate praise and rave reviews, and earned her one of the highly coveted spots on The New Yorker 's list of the "20 Best Writers Under 40" alongside such peers as Karen Russell, Wells Tower, Téa Obreht, and Dinaw Mengestu. But where that first novel had startling ambition and scope yet strictly contained its remarkable energy within notably spare language and a pared-down setting and time frame, this new novel's energy bursts out of the gate running and gallops through generations, consuming a multitude of characters and plots.
The title The Sport of Kings refers to horse racing, and the novel centres itself within that world: a connected web of humans and animals, as well as a fertile patch of land, in the heart of Kentucky. With breathtaking fluency, C.E. Morgan puts us inside the consciousness of an extraordinary range of characters who inhabit that patch of land through the years: an adolescent trying to grow up under the withering gaze of his landowner father; a brilliant black woman struggling with her seeming fate to be a household servant; a whip-smart boy who grows up in the ghetto but seeks to know more about his mysterious origins; and a girl whose uncompromising love of her family's legacy leads her to gamble with her own life.
C.E. Morgan's writing has been compared to that of Marilynne Robinson and James Salter, and her ability to articulate moments fleetingly observed or sudden subtle changes in tenor and mood has a similar effect of mingled surprise and inevitability. This is writing that, even in its wildest and most southern-gothic moments, contains both the ring of truth and the thrill of discovery.

Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, [2016]
ISBN: 9780307397355
Branch Call Number: FIC Morga
Characteristics: 545 pages : map ; 24 cm


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Aug 18, 2016

This book, this book.. I am 40 pages from the end of its 544 pages, and I do not want it to end. It is about horses, but not a horse book. It is about slavery, but also about all of our enslavement. And it's also about racism, a slyer, self-satisfied, more cynical slavery.

The language is beautiful, raw, poetic and alive. The interracial relationship rings harrowingly true. The possibility for transformation in old age also rings true.

The author has so much intellectual energy and brilliance that she has packed the book with about 100 pages of her associative cortex's connections that don't assist the plot. You have to just work through it. It has value.

Read this book, it is beautiful.

Jun 12, 2016

Thought this would be a great book to read during Triple Crown season, but the horses were just a very small backdrop. It's about the very strange and awful Forge family, the very sad and depressing Allmon Shaunghnessy, with racism and incest. I described this book to my family as the most beautifully written, awful book I've ever read. And although it has beautiful prose, it also has very foul and crude language. At times the prose is over done with long rambling paragraphs full of many words I was not familiar with. A very long, and slow moving story. Had to force myself to finish it. Can't recommend this one.

Jun 06, 2016

This book is hard, and definitely not for someone looking for a horse-y read. It's not really about horses or horse racing, instead it's a treatise on race in America. It's big and bold with fully drawn characters and a compelling story. The pacing isn't fast, but the storytelling is strong. One scene, though, is seared into my brain and I really wish it wasn't.

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