Hit a pretty rich vein in the past couple of weeks with Nos. 19-21 on the list. Lord of Misrule, the *ahem* dark horse that won the National Book Award, is a florid, self-absorbed love fest with the author’s own long-ago affair with low-rent horse racing. An amazing book, but hard at first to get into because of the style, like the way it takes a few chapters to sink back into the style of Victorian novels. Dark and unsatisfying in the way life itself is, and naturally the German shepherd meets the usual fate, with a twist that makes it worse. But the characterizations of the horses, and the GSD Elizabeth, are flawless, heart-stopping.
Bent Road, a thriller sort of in the style of Jane Smiley, by Lori Roy. Devoured it. Curious facts about this book and author. Lori Roy’s agent is Jenny Bent and her editor’s last name is Roy. Cue Twilight Zone theme.
And finally, The Glass Castle, which lived up to my expectations. A couple of incidents, however, did strain credulity, like when she says she heard on the news of a massive tie-up in the Lincoln or Holland Tunnel, involving an escaped dog and a rattletrap car, and it turned out to have been her parents. Letting a three-year old boil hot dogs, however, I totally believed of her feckless parents.
2011 List so far.
21. Bent Road, Lori Roy
20. Lord of Misrule, Jaimy Gordon
19. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
18. Mr Chartwell, Rebecca Hunt
17. Half-Broke Horses, Jeannette Walls
16. The Shadow of the Past, Christopher Tolkien
15. A Conspiracy of Kings, Megan Whalen Turner
14. Protector of the Small, Squire, Tamora Pierce
11-13. The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia,Megan Whalen Turner
10. Skippy Dies, Paul Murray
9. Lost Horizon, James Hilton
4-8. The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir, The Demon King, The Exiled King Cinda Williams Chima
3. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly
2. Armadale, Wilkie Collins
1. The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, Jennifer Trafton
7-9 The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
5-6 The Woman in White, The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins
1-4 The Nine Tailors, Gaudy Night, Busman’s Honeymoon, Lord Peter, Dorothy L Sayers