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Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781408710128

Price: £9.99

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A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history



‘I loved this book so much’ ANN PATCHETT

‘Brilliantly varied and with a galloping pace’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

‘A masterpiece’ JANE SMILEY

‘Thrilling’ NEW YORK TIMES

Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. When the nation erupts in civil war, an itinerant young artist who has made his name on paintings of the racehorse takes up arms for the Union. On a perilous night, he reunites with the stallion and his groom, very far from the glamour of any racetrack.

Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse – one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.

Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred, Lexington, who became America’s greatest stud sire, Horse is an original, gripping, multi-layered reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America.

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Reviews

One of our most supple and insightful novelists . . . Brooks is as adventurous as a novelist as she once was a journalist . . . her journalistic sense of story has remained vibrant.
Jane Smiley, The New York Times Book Review
A fascinating saga based on the true story of a famous 19th-century racehorse
Publishers Weekly
Thrilling . . . a book about the power and pain of words
Alexandra Jacobs, New York Times
Reveals the truth behind the spirit, obsession and injustice across American history
The Handbook
Everyone should read Geraldine Brooks
Guardian
This deft novel moves between the present day and the Civil War era in a polyphonic examination of the fraught racial aspects of horse racing in US history
New Yorker
Brooks is an accomplished writer... [She] has a talent and passion for research that is fully expressed here... The descriptions of 19th-century horse racing are thrilling
Atlantic
Thrilling... Brooks has an almost clairvoyant ability to conjure up the textures of the past and of each character's inner life... Her felicitous, economical style and flawless pacing carries us briskly yet unhurriedly along... And the novel's alternating narratives, by suspending time, also intensify suspense
Wall Street Journal
In telling the story of an antebellum racehorse, Geraldine Brooks balances two compelling timelines and explores the rotten legacy of American slavery... It richly transcends the category of 'for horse lovers'
Maggie Shipstead, Books of the Year, Guardian
Marvellous... Brooks structures the book like a mystery... Equestrian or no, readers will appreciate Brooks's invitation to linger awhile among beautiful and graceful horses, to see the devotion they engendered in her characters
Shelf Awareness
This is historical fiction at its finest, connecting threads of the past with the present to illuminate that essentially human something . . . Calling all horse girls: This is the story of the most important racehorse you've never heard of, but it's also so much more than that.
Good Housekeeping
You won't be able to contain yourself while reading this elegant story about three generations of people inspired by the story of America's greatest racehorse... This is a novel about love, anger, passion, and justice - unbridled and bursting
Lit Hub
Brilliantly varied and with a galloping pace
Mail on Sunday
Few fiction writers travel across territory as vast as that staked out by the intrepid Geraldine Brooks . . . There's a romance between Brooks and the world, and her writing is as full of heart and curiosity as it is intelligence and judgement . . . her appetite for detail, her wanting to know how things work and why they happened, is enormous.
Carrie Brown, The Boston Globe
Horse mingles the past with the present, and history melds with well-informed invention... Brooks crafts an exceptionally sensitive portrayal of an enslaved groom and his special bond with Lexington
Smithsonian Magazine
There's something bordering on the supernatural about Geraldine Brooks. She seems able to transport herself back to earlier time periods, to time travel. Sometimes, reading her work, she draws you so thoroughly into another era that you swear she's actually lived in it.
Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe
Brooks demonstrates imaginative empathy [...] and provides some sardonic correctives to White cluelessness... Strong storytelling in service of a stinging moral message
Kirkus
I loved this book so much - an important book, gorgeous, full of love . . . a super smart book that will keep you up all night
Ann Patchett
A sweeping tale... fluid, masterful storytelling... Brooks writes about our present in such a way that the tangled roots of history, just beneath the story, are both subtle and undeniable... Horse is a reminder of the simple, primal power an author can summon by creating characters readers care about and telling a story about them
Washington Post
Brooks is a master at bringing the past alive . . . in [her] skillful hands the issues of the past echo our own deepest concerns: love and loss, drama and tragedy, chaos and brutality.
Alice Hoffman, Washington Post
A thrilling story about humanity in all its ugliness and beauty... The care with which Brooks crafts each character's voice is a plea to look past the categorical labels and legends with which we describe each other, to truly see the individual. Paired with a compelling plot, the evocative voices create a story so powerful, reading it feels like watching a neck-and-neck race, galloping to its conclusion - you just can't look away
Oprah Daily
A confident novel of racing and race... with tender precision, Horse shows us history in flux... the book returns Brooks to the terrain that won her a Pulitzer Prize... She brings the same archival confidence and sensory flair to the antebellum racetrack
Guardian
Brooks understands and empathises with all of her characters, and it is suspenseful and thoughtful - a masterpiece
Jane Smiley
Brooks probes our understanding of history to reveal the power structures that create both the facts and the fiction... She has penned a clever and richly detailed novel about how we commodify, commemorate, and quantify winning in the United States, all through the lens of horse racing
Library Journal
With exceptional characterizations, Pulitzer Prize-winner Brooks tells an emotionally impactful tale... The settings are pitch-perfect, and the story brings to life the important roles filled by Black horsemen in America's past
Booklist
Horse isn't just an animal story - it's a moving narrative about race and art
Time
The wonderful story of an extraordinary real-life racehorse... Brooks moves seamlessly between different times and places... the attention to historical details is impressive
Racing Post