Cover Image: The Sport of Kings

The Sport of Kings

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Her name is Hellmouth.  Descended from the great racehorse Secretariat, she is a filly whose strength, size and desperate desire to win is obvious from birth.  She has been carefully bred by Henry Forge, the scion of a famous Kentucky family.  Forge's ancestor had come to this land when it was unsettled, accompanied only by his favorite slave.  Over the years, the land he claimed had been cultivated and made into a famous estate but those black men and women who did the work claimed none of the benefit.
Henry was consumed with racing since he was a small boy.  When his father passed and the land came to him, he tore out the corn and tobacco fields and made it a horse farm.  Now he lives there with his beautiful, headstrong daughter, Henrietta.  Around the time Hellmouth is born, Allmon comes to work there as a groomsman.  Unknown to either of them, Allmon is a descendant of that first slave who came to Kentucky with the first Forge.  Allmon comes to the farm from prison where he is sent after an episode that occurred from his reaction to the pain and disorder he is raised in.  He and Henrietta start an affair that can only come to ruin.

But there is always Hellmouth.  The filly starts winning races early and is soon talked about as the candidate to beat.  She is the star and predicted to win the Triple Crown in her year.  No filly has won against male horses in many years but Hellmouth is not any filly.  Can she fulfill her destiny?

This novel won many prizes.  It was a finalist for the Bailey Prize for Women and was the winner of the Kirkus Prize For Fiction.  It was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the James Tait Black Prize For Fiction as well as a best book of the year as selected by such organizations as NPR, The Wall Street Journal, Booklist and the New York Times.  It is an in depth study not only of racing but the entire culture of racing.  It is also an investigation into black-white relations stretching back to the time of slavery and the effects and destinies set by that cruel practice.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.
Was this review helpful?
DNF - While well written, I could not connect with this novel.
It was incredibly slow going for me despite best efforts and high praise from reviewers. 
I believe that this is a well written book and will appeal to readers who are more patient than I.
Was this review helpful?