Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lord Of Misrule

Jaimy Gordon's head swirled with the disparate voices that coalesced on the manure-soaked backstretch of a small West Virginia bullring of a racetrack. After many years, she decided to let them out. In the 70s she worked on the backstretch of a dead-end track with a criminal boyfriend who trained low-end claimers, immersing herself in the dregs of the racing world before moving on to Yale to study writing. Usually that trajectory works the other way, but somehow she escaped the doom that surrounds the characters in her amazing new work Lord of Misrule that has gone on to win the National Book Award.

Gordon hadn't even dressed for or prepared any remarks for the improbable win she scored at the ceremony. The publisher never dreamed this book would return much in the way of profit, but it has. And the fact that it did offers hope for all writers who follow their passions and their richest insights without gearing the work to any target audience. That if your work is great, it's greatness will come through just like the roan on the cover of the book.