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Publisher's Summary

“Brooks’ chronological and cross-disciplinary leaps are thrilling.” —The New York Times Book Review

Horse isn’t just an animal story—it’s a moving narrative about race and art.” —TIME

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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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

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Wish there were more like it

This book met my craving for social relevance, horses, history of America, suspense, you name it. The perfect book.

4 people found this helpful

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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!).

4 people found this helpful

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Brilliant, gorgeous work of art

This stunning book is the capstone of Brooks’ writing career. Rooted in history, both the Civil War and modern eras, Horse is the story of race, horse racing, anthropology and what it means to fully live with our consciousness of all beings. Stop whatever you are reading and read and/or listen to this stunning treasure.

3 people found this helpful

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The love of horses and those who excelled and were then dismissed

Fabulous book. This is a must read for any horse lover or involved in Kentucky racing. For those who have an interest in a bit of local history, enjoy. The novel also is enlightening about our scientific studies, the study of art and its themes. But most importantly it bares witness to our troubled times.

1 person found this helpful

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Captivating Read

I became totally immersed in this story even with no previous interest in horse racing. It was read by a superb voice that matched the story perfectly. I’m so glad I chose to listen when generally I like to have a book in my hands. The characters were all very compelling, the story well researched and I felt I learned a lot about the time period. Highly recommend!

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Wonderful

A lovely mixture of art and history. True skill in the sharing of this story

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Should win all the prizes

This is a beautifully written story of a horse, horse racing and the courage required of so many to simply survive. These imagined lives will not be forgotten.

1 person found this helpful

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Maybe my favorite author

Geraldine doesn’t disappoint ! What a piece of historical fiction spanning 2 centuries & as relevant now as then . The characters will captivate you & narration bring u to many tears . Thoroughly enjoyed & sharing with my reading family & friends .

1 person found this helpful

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Didn’t finish.

This book would likely be a better read than listen. Too many story lines and too many characters. Lots of information on horses.

1 person found this helpful

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