From a short book to an epic – my fourth Bailey’s Prize read was the massive tome Sport of Kings. 500+ pages set in and around a ranch in Kentucky which raises race horses. The book covers many themes including (but not limited to) racism, sexism, evolution, horse breeding and slavery. The prose is dense, rich and flowery. It is being billed as a modern American classic.
For me it felt a bit of a slog to get through. The basic story lines were all great and I wanted to know more about all of the characters but the language and the style just kept bogging me down and disappointingly the slow build was ruined by a too fast ending. I also just didn’t quite buy the main twist.
I admire this book without loving it, the racism and sexism alienated me and I never felt close to the characters – it was like they were all behind a pane of glass. I’m glad that the Bailey’s Prize introduced me to this book, I’d never have read it otherwise and there is much to admire.