Egan’s narrative voice and style is so damn brilliant, and with a symphony of characters that you instantly care about, this story is an intricate tapestry of the highest order. There is this chapter that is all power point slide show, and at first seems like bullshit, but it’s not, read it carefully, there is so much beauty and sorrow in it. I love the chapter with Sasha in Italy, it’s like you’re actually there with her, (wow, this is so smarmy!). I’m gushing like a school girl with a first crush.
So Brad Watson sends his characters out for the evening. He flays their souls and then puts them into play on a night out with their pals. When the soul sees hell, then it’s there. We can create hell ourselves…or is it just the brutish quality of life…that it’s extremely hazardous? Brad, you’re great. Your students in Laramie are lucky. Your readers everywhere are lucky. But your characters, they are not so lucky…it being quite risky out there.
Reading Lord of Misrule is like something between The Sting and The Hustler. If you made a movie our of it, you’d be pissed Paul Newman was dead. Gordon has a knack for idiosyncratic characters and steely tension in the race scenes and relationship dramas.
Writers usually have one or two major gifts, but Cheever seems to have had it all: emotional depth, dazzling language, expert storytelling, a sense of high-wire daring, a mastery of tone that treats the comic and tragic as cosmic bedfellows. His milieu of doormen and high balls and pool parties seems a bit dated now, as quaint as the name Shady Hills, but his great theme— desire subjugated by dailiness—feels timeless.