My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Laura Hillenbrand, as you may know, is also the author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend. In August of 2001, book reviewer Stephen Moss of The Guardian took the following pot shot at Hillenbrand’s prose before summing the story up as “overblown”…
Hillenbrand has a grand story to tell, though the manner of the telling is sometimes a little too grand for its own good. “Red Pollard was sinking downward through his life with the pendulous motion of a leaf falling through still air.” Rough translation: Seabiscuit’s jockey, Red Pollard, was having a tough time getting decent rides. In this world of superannuated superlatives, no adjective or fancy phrase is left unmolested: blisters can never be just blisters, they must be “angry” ones; George Woolf was not merely a very fine jockey, he was “supernatural”; the bookish Pollard didn’t hide in dark corners of the jockeys’ room, he “sequestered himself” there. LINK
Perhaps a fair criticism, perhaps not. I will only point out that by using “old” instead of “superannuated” Moss would have made a much more compelling case for simplicity of style.