LORD OF MISRULE by Jaimy Gordon

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against the odds, the great jaimy gordon won this year’s national book award for LORD OF MISRULE, a gritty look at a 70s era down-and-out west virginia racetrack. its creation of character through dialect and its vivid rendering of a lost place and time is remarkable. she’s also the author of the gorgeous and virtuosic SHAMP OF THE CITY SOLO and the very different but equally beautiful and emotionally connecting SHE DROVE WITHOUT STOPPING.

i think this (slightly protesting) comment on plot in this recent interview on michael silverblatt’s bookworm reveals a bit about her method: “…otherwise it all goes into a kind of a slurry in my imagination… I just try to recreate the atmosphere and then kind of weave a plot into it. And I do like the element of plot very much. It doesn’t have to be an extremely complex plot worthy of a mystery story, but the element of suspense in fiction, the necessity of continuing to follow a narrative until you find out what happens to the characters whom you’ve come to care about. I just don’t see how any fiction writer could dispense with that, could want to. It’s what’s so entrancing about the experience of reading fiction for me, or one of the main things that’s makes it so necessary for me.” (15:10)

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as a bonus, at the end of the interview she lists her favorite under-appreciated novels:

Rot by Janet Kauffman
Compression Scars by Kellie Wells
The Leper Compound by Paula Nangle
The End by Salvatore Scibona
Hermine: An Animal Life by Maria Beig
Hell by Kathryn Davis
The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf by Kathryn Davis

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