Synopses & Reviews
New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016
NPR Best Books of 2016
Hellsmouth, an indomitable Thoroughbred with the blood of Triple Crown winners in her veins, runs for the glory of the Forge family, one of Kentucky’s oldest and most powerful dynasties. Henry Forge has partnered with his daughter, Henrietta, in an endeavor of raw obsession: to breed the next superhorse, the next Secretariat. But when Allmon Shaughnessy, an ambitious young black man, comes to work on their farm, the violence of the Forges’ history and the exigencies of appetite are brought starkly into view. Entangled in fear, prejudice, and lust, the three tether their personal dreams of glory to the speed and grace of Hellsmouth.
A spiraling tale of wealth and poverty, racism and rage, The Sport of Kings is an unflinching portrait of lives cast in shadow by the enduring legacy of slavery. C. E. Morgan, who received a 2016 Windham–Campbell Prize for Fiction, has given life to a tale as mythic and fraught as the South itself—a moral epic for our time.
“Morgan’s storytelling abilities match her deep characterization — part of which is that she’s a writer of real virtuosity, and the narrative includes some of her set-piece “lessons,” mock interviews, synthetic parables, and a retelling of the Eden myth in the style of Uncle Remus... Her concerns are Faulknerian in scope.” Madison Smartt Bell, Boston Globe
“Remarkable achievements... The Sport of Kings hovers between fiction, history, and myth, its characters sometimes like the ancient ones bound to their tales by fate, its horses distant kin to those who drew the chariot of time across the sky... Novelists can do things that other writers can’t—and Morgan can do things that other novelists can’t... Tremendous, the work of a writer just starting to show us what she can do.” Kathryn Shultz, New Yorker
About the Author
C. E. Morgan lives with her husband, Will Guild, in Berea, Kentucky. She is the author of All the Living.