JC / Railbird

Such Different Books

TD Thornton on why he wrote “Not by a Long Shot”:

I read a lot of great books about the sport’s champions and iconic figures, but after awhile, it started to dawn on me that very few of those books spoke of the racetrack as I knew it — minimum-wage stable hands busting ice out of frozen water buckets, jockeys who starve themselves to make riding weight, fragile, beautiful horses with immeasurable tenacity. All of these elements keep the industry humming along in unheralded fashion so the highest echelon of the game can bask in the spotlight, yet these people and horses never seem to have a voice. I wanted to give them one.

Jaimy Gordon on her motivation for “Lord of Misrule”:

Of course, I read “Horse Heaven,’’ Jane Smiley’s novel. But the owners in “Horse Heaven’’ are respectable, upper-middle-class people, not like people I used to know on the racetrack.

I hoped I might write a book like Leonard Gardner’s “Fat City.” To me, that’s the best novel about American boxing, and yet it’s about boxing at its absolute bottom end, around Stockton, Calif. That’s what I wanted to do — write a book about horse racing at its low end, in an era considerably before the present moment, and see if there wasn’t an open niche for that.

Such similar urges to storytelling.

1 Comment

And, ironically I suppose, both of those books are considerably better written than most of those about the “high-end” horses.

Posted by Valerie on February 6, 2011 @ 5:20 pm