“Horse racing and breeding, evolution, race, love, family dynamics, and America's historical past are a few of the subjects and issues that Morgan bravely, confidently, and intelligently explores with a poetic and lyrical sensibility. The result is a gorgeous and engaging novel that is sobering, important, and unforgettable. In addition to her singular vision and style, Morgan combines some of the intense power of the landscape-as-mindscape of Thomas Wolfe, the dramaturgy and myth-mining of Eugene O'Neill, the deep focus and rigor of Richard Powers, the transcendent beauty of Vollmann's best prose, and the strong spiritual commitment of Marilynne Robinson. The Sport of Kings unfolds dramatically into an exquisite work of classic American literature.”
— Ed Conklin (M), Chaucer's Books, Santa Barbara, CA
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.