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Horse cover art

Horse

By: Geraldine Brooks
Narrated by: Graham Halstead,James Fouhey,Katherine Littrell,Lisa Flanagan,Michael Obiora
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Publisher's Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize winning author of March and People of the Book comes a vivid and unique new novel for lovers of sweeping historical fiction and books about iconic racehorses like Seabiscuit and Secretariat

WINNER OF THE FICTION INDIE BOOK AWARDS 2023

WINNER OF THE ANISFIELD-WOLF BOOK AWARDS 2023

SHORTLISTED FOR THE ARA HISTORICAL NOVEL PRIZE 2022

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKPEOPLE ADULT FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2023

WINNER OF THE DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2023

'He tilted his desk lamp so that the light fell on the image. The head of a bright bay colt gazed out of the canvas, the expression in the eyes unusual and haunting.'

A discarded painting in a roadside clean-up, forgotten bones in a research archive, and Lexington, the greatest racehorse in US history. From these strands of fact, Geraldine Brooks weaves a sweeping story of spirit, obsession and injustice across American history.

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, even as the nation reels towards war. An itinerant young artist who makes his name from paintings of the horse takes up arms for the Union and reconnects with the stallion and his groom on a perilous night far from the glamour of any racetrack.

New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.

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.

With the moral complexity of March and a multi-stranded narrative reminiscent of People of the Book, this enthralling novel is a gripping reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America. Horse is the latest masterpiece from a writer with a prodigious talent for bringing the past to life.

©2022 Geraldine Brooks (P)2022 Hachette Australia Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"With exceptional characterisations, Brooks tells an emotionally impactful tale." (Booklist, starred review)

"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." (Library Journal, starred review)

"A fascinating saga based on the true story of a famous 19th-century racehorse...Brooks' multiple narratives and strong character development captivate." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Horse

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Didn’t love it

Can’t say why. Perhaps it was just a bit too contrived. It didn’t grab my imagination and I didn’t form an emotional connection. All that said, clearly well researched and constructed.

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Excellent read

Full of historic detail supporting the story based on real life in true Geraldine Brooks style

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Unexpected!

I’d read other listeners’ reviews before buying this book. There are comments on animal cruelty and Theo’s death, but to me these are integral elements to a story of cruelty to both horses and people, notably slaves. It was harrowing at times but beautifully written and, sadly, a commentary on our century as well as the 19th. The bond between Jarret and Lexington is beautifully described and I wanted them to stay together throughout all. I’m glad that they did!

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Love and Obsession

Thoroughly surprised. A fascinating story of the treatment of man and animal over generations. Encompasses history , adventure , love , life , death , inequality and on and on. All the things I love in a " take me away" novel.

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Bringing history alive

So many of the characters and events were true but needed a writer like Geraldine Brooks to weave the stories with a few fictional characters and happenings. A great look at the South both then and now. Great listen! Many thanks to all involved.

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Delightful rendition

An interesting brush with the past on topics that should never be far from
conversation. Lest we forget

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Wonderful book !!

Loved this book as it moved from history to present with such ease and so interesting
I learned a great deal

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  • DC
  • 02-10-2023

Thoroughly enjoyable listening.

I really enjoyed this book. The character development was so good that I felt connected to the main subjects in the story. The descriptions of Lexington and the other horses and anatomy were so interesting and educational. I was on the edge of my seat for the races in anticipation. And I shared the emotions of the protagonists. There were moments of joy and elation and also of sadness and reality. I highly recommend this book.

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great read

A excellent story weaving truth and fiction with a lens of hindsight. Racing, Slavery, Racism, Revolution and Science a fast paced book I could not put down

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Poignant, must-listen story

Beautifully read, poignant and touching story. I have regarded animals differently while listening to the powerful bond between Jarret and Lexington.

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