A Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
Winner of the Kirkus Prize for Fiction • A Recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction • A Finalist for the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction • A Finalist for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction • A Finalist for the Rathbones Folio Prize • Longlisted for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence • One of New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Book
Named a Best Book of the Year by Entertainment Weekly • GQ • The New York Times (Selected by Dwight Garner) • NPR • The Wall Street Journal • San Francisco Chronicle • Refinery29 • Booklist • Kirkus Reviews • Commonweal Magazine
"In its poetic splendor and moral seriousness, The Sport of Kings bears the traces of Faulkner, Morrison, and McCarthy. . . . It is a contemporary masterpiece."—San Francisco Chronicle
Hailed by The New Yorker for its “remarkable achievements,” The Sport of Kings is an American tale centered on a horse and two families: one white, a Southern dynasty whose forefathers were among the founders of Kentucky; the other African-American, the descendants of their slaves.
It is a dauntless narrative that stretches from the fields of the Virginia piedmont to the abundant pastures of the Bluegrass, and across the dark waters of the Ohio River; from the final shots of the Revolutionary War to the resounding clang of the starting bell at Churchill Downs. As C. E. Morgan unspools a fabric of shared histories, past and present converge in a Thoroughbred named Hellsmouth, heir to Secretariat and a contender for the Triple Crown. Newly confronted with one another in the quest for victory, the two families must face the consequences of their ambitions, as each is driven---and haunted---by the same, enduring question: How far away from your father can you run?
A sweeping narrative of wealth and poverty, racism and rage, The Sport of Kings is an unflinching portrait of lives cast in the shadow of slavery and a moral epic for our time.
Morgan's enjoyable if overwritten novel about horse racing is, at heart, a story about parents and children. In 1965, Henry Forge, scion of a powerful white Kentucky dynasty, defies his tyrannical father's wishes by turning their corn farm into a horse farm, where he hopes to turn out thoroughbred racers. Set around the year 2007, Henry's equally headstrong daughter, Henrietta, defies her father by hiring a black ex-con named Allmon Shaughnessy to work in the stables. Raised in Cincinnati by a well-meaning single mother suffering from Lupus, Allmon drifted into petty crime at an early age. Now he is trying to make a new start at Forge Run Farm, where Henry and Henrietta have pinned all their hopes on Hellsmouth, a thoroughbred filly from an historic bloodline. Henry, having inherited his father's belief in the inferiority of the black race, does everything possible to stop the growing attraction between Allmon and his daughter, but fate has a shocking destiny in store for them. The novel starts strong out of the gate, with Henry, Henrietta, and Allmon each getting nearly 100 pages for his or her own immersive backstory, then blows it in the backstretch with a series of melodramatic incidents that undermines the care with which Morgan (All the Living) has created these larger-than-life characters. However, fans of Jane Smiley's Horse Heaven and Jaimy Gordon's Lord of Misrule will appreciate the novel's authentically pungent shed-row atmosphere, as ultimately satisfying as a mint julep on Derby Day.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Well written and interesting but poorly titled...
...and I must say that people who know nothing about guns should not attempt to detail them or their workings in their writing.
Must also admit that this author's consistently delightful sentences and turns of phrase made it a worthwhile read. She does have that gift.
Conclusion dark, muddled, confusing. Don't know why she wrapped it up like that...a disappointment after all that had come before.
The Sport of Kings
This book is an extremely well-written story concerning evolution, the purpose of our lives here on earth, told through the genre of southern history and horse racing. It is not for the faint of heart, but for the thinking soul.