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The Sport of Kings (2016)

de C. E. Morgan

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3431656,714 (3.49)47
"Hellsmouth, a willful thoroughbred filly with the blood of Triple Crown winners flowing through her veins, has the legacy of the Forges riding on her. One of the oldest and proudest families in Kentucky, the Forge family is as mythic as the history of the South itself. Descended from one of the first settlers to brave the Gap, Henry Forge, through an act of naked ambition, is attempting to blaze a new path, breeding horses on the family's crop farm. His daughter, Henrietta, becomes his partner in the endeavor, although she has desires of her own. Their conflict escalates when Allmon Shaughnessy, a black man fresh from prison, comes to work in the stables, and the ugliness of the farm's past and the exigencies of appetite become evident. Together, the three stubbornly try to create a new future through sheer will--one that isn't written in their very fabric--while they mold Hellsmouth into a champion.The Sport of Kings has the grace of a parable and the force of an epic. A majestic story of speed and hunger, racism and justice, this novel is an astonishment from start to finish. A vital new voice, C. E. Morgan has crafted an American myth, a contemporary portrait of the scars of the past that run through a family, and of our desperate need to escape our history, to subsume it with pleasure--or to rise above it with glory"--"A contemporary portrait of a family subsumed by the scars of slavery"--… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porjobinsonlis, WXC89, MAR67, WXC789, wxc777, WXC77, WXC88
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Mostrando 1-5 de 16 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Oh man, how to unpack the levels of this book. First, I read it because I will read almost anything about horse racing. Except, this isn't really about the horses at all; it's about family, inheritance, race, slavery, mass incarceration, and what feels like the hopelessness of America's racial history.

The writing is drop-dead gorgeous and almost got me to five stars, but I just can't. I don't know if this is me being hyper-sensitive or unnecessarily white-guilty, but I had a hard time wrestling with the book's broader themes, knowing that the author is a white (looking) woman. Is that unfair? Is this the history black people experience? Or want told? Maybe yes? Is it for me to say? I just keep hearing Lin-Manuel Miranda asking "who tells your story" and thinking this is not my story to tell. I don't really know what to do with that as a white reader of a white writer. (ETA: this article on William Styron articulates some of what I'm feeling.)

Quotable:
"It was a wet Friday morning with continual, sourceless mist obscuring the lineaments of the buildings, so that the horses and grooms and riders seemed to traverse here and there behind a damp and billowing veil. They were quiet as librarians in the haze, shushed by the soft weather."

Little things:
-I'm confused about the timeline. Seconds Flat is foaled in 1990, but it seems like at the 1993 Derby, Henrietta is reminiscing about Silver Charm, Thunder Gulch, and others who are not around yet.
-By page 177, CEM has used the words karst or karsty at least four times. That seems higher than average. ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
The first half of this book is perfection: gorgeous writing, well-drawn characters with believable attributes, important issues tackled from a surprising angle.

The second half is an utter mess. The gorgeous writing becomes mere wordiness because the plot is unfocused, wildly wheeling from one topic or character to another, telling you more than you needed to know about most and nothing at all of what you were interested in from the start.

Many reviewers before me on this page have said the book needed a stronger editorial hand. I absolutely agree. Morgan was failed by her editor(s) here. If she was capable of writing the first half, they should have pushed her through the problems of the second half until she had something even slightly as good. Keep cutting costs & editorial jobs, publishing companies; you're really contributing to the enrichment of our culture. (Sarcasm, for those who can't tell)

So five stars for part one, one star for part two = 3 stars ( )
  susanbooks | Jan 6, 2019 |
I like quiet, subtle character studies as much as the next reader, but sometimes it's nice to just dig into a big fat epic doorstopper with lots of stuff happening. And that's what The Sport of Kings has to offer. Don't get me wrong -- the writing is also great, and Morgan also has a lot to say about race and family and history, but there's a lot of pleasure in just watching the plot unwind. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
This is a surprising book, it made a few unexpected side steps and had a weird ending. Some of the writing on landscape is great, I could picture the land very well, and the excitement of the horse racing was infectious. Other bits dragged and felt like they could use some editing. When Allmon enters the story you get a chapter with an entirely different feel than what has gone before. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Mar 5, 2018 |
Less than the sum of its parts. Or possibly more? It starts as yet another Great American Novel about a Great American Family, then takes a delightfully unexpected turn. However, once the novelty wore off, I couldn’t help feeling that, as with the Underground Railroad, the characters were just very polished cover versions of very, very familiar songs. But polished they were, and but for a couple of odd plot points I really did enjoy this. Not groundbreaking, but exciting to read all the same. ( )
  alexrichman | Jan 9, 2018 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 16 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Given this state of political affairs, it seems strange that conservative characters are seldom given serious treatment in contemporary American literary fiction. Even less often is this ideology depicted through its true believers and enforcers: the wealthy and the upper-middle class.

*

One rare exception is C.E. Morgan’s prizewinning 2016 novel The Sport of Kings, in which Henry Forge—the conservative, racist heir to a large slaveholding fortune—is a main protagonist.
adicionado por elenchus | editarlithub.com, Colette Shade (Apr 28, 2018)
 
This novel is about horse racing the way Moby-Dick is about a whale; it has a similarly expansive scope, spiritual seriousness and density of grand themes. Shortlisted for the Pulitzer and now the Baileys prize, Morgan’s epic work builds to a climactic series of dramatic race scenes featuring a star filly named Hellsmouth. Along the way, Morgan wrestles with subjects including the history of Kentucky, slavery and its legacies, the iniquities of American healthcare, Darwinism, geology and relations between the sexes. In the maximalist stakes, Morgan’s novel is a muscular, confident entry....As the story heats up, so does Morgan’s dense and complex language
 
No dead horse has been more thoroughly flogged than the Great American Novel, yet C E Morgan, undeterred, has coaxed the poor animal into unexpected resurrection, leading it up onto its shaking legs and into a full-blooded gallop. The Sport of Kings is a novel ostensibly about horse racing, but it is competing for much higher stakes. Morgan has dared to write the kind of book that was presumed long extinct: a high literary epic of America.....Beneath the ostentatious prose, Morgan is a good old-fashioned storyteller, knowing what to withhold and what to reveal.
 

» Adicionar outros autores (3 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Morgan, C. E.Autorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Newbern, GeorgeNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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"Hellsmouth, a willful thoroughbred filly with the blood of Triple Crown winners flowing through her veins, has the legacy of the Forges riding on her. One of the oldest and proudest families in Kentucky, the Forge family is as mythic as the history of the South itself. Descended from one of the first settlers to brave the Gap, Henry Forge, through an act of naked ambition, is attempting to blaze a new path, breeding horses on the family's crop farm. His daughter, Henrietta, becomes his partner in the endeavor, although she has desires of her own. Their conflict escalates when Allmon Shaughnessy, a black man fresh from prison, comes to work in the stables, and the ugliness of the farm's past and the exigencies of appetite become evident. Together, the three stubbornly try to create a new future through sheer will--one that isn't written in their very fabric--while they mold Hellsmouth into a champion.The Sport of Kings has the grace of a parable and the force of an epic. A majestic story of speed and hunger, racism and justice, this novel is an astonishment from start to finish. A vital new voice, C. E. Morgan has crafted an American myth, a contemporary portrait of the scars of the past that run through a family, and of our desperate need to escape our history, to subsume it with pleasure--or to rise above it with glory"--"A contemporary portrait of a family subsumed by the scars of slavery"--

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