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Publisher's Summary

A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids 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. 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 glamor 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.

Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred Lexington, Horse is a novel of art and science, love and obsession, and our unfinished reckoning with racism.

©2022 Geraldine Brooks (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"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. Brooks also showcases the magnificent beauty and competitive spirit of Lexington himself.”—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 about how we commodify, commemorate, and quantify winning in the United States, all through the lens of horse racing.”—Library Journal (starred review)  

“A fascinating saga based on the true story of a famous 19th-century racehorse . . . Brooks’s multiple narratives and strong character development captivate, and she soars with the story of Jarret.”—Publishers Weekly 

What listeners say about Horse

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Love Geraldine Brooks

I waited a few days after finishing this to write a review because I wanted to see how I felt with a little distance. This story is formatted similarly to People of The Book (maybe my favorite Brooks novel. but Year of Wonders is right up there), but in place of the book, is a horse.
This isn't a joyous listen. Slavery and modern racism, make it painful.
Some of the Horse stuff left me bored. I remember reading Seabiscuit, by Hillenbrand years ago and being pulled into the story in spite of my lack of interest in horse racing. This didn't do that as well.
The history of the painting was interesting, however.
Definitely worth the credit and your time.

My Sympathies to Ms Brooks on the loss of her husband.

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A Worthy Read

You will not regret the time you spend listening to this story. Heartbreaking in some of its details, but hopeful all the same. A lovely weaving of fact and fiction (faction!).

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful!

This book is wonderful! The writing is incredible. Loved how it tries history to today. Great book!