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Publisher's Summary

'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)

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A fantastic story ruined

Horse is a wonderful story by a brilliant author absolutely ruined by awful narration. I am going to return this book today and I have just purchased the kindle edition.

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  • Anne Pace
  • 08-08-22

Horse

Wonderful story interesting history and such real characters.
Sad and moving story but unforgettable piece of American history.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-22

Horse is a ‘Must Read’!

This is an absolutely brilliant piece of work. Brookes very cleverly interweaves the life of a black slave in the USA, 19th century racing, the Civil War, and post emancipation America alongside modern day behaviours and bigotry.

All of the characters are engaging, and the interpretation of Lexington is beautiful. You’ll be hooked, even if you’re not a massive horse lover or racing fan.

The performances are great and having different narrators for the main characters works really well. All do a terrific job.

Loved this book!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-22

Dull and lazy work

Geraldine Brooks was one of my favourite authors a few years back, but I’m dodging her work now. I tried to read this, but just couldn’t make it beyond halfway. I couldn’t care less about the characters and what happened to them. Their portraits are shallow and, at times, annoying. Why do they mispronounce Canberra? I think the author’s use of a modern day bone picker was a lazy copy of her use of a book restorer in another of her books. Maybe it’s me, but I’m out!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-01-22

Memorable, enthralling and a full experience.

I absolutely loved this book. Read it and then listened. it is so beautifully written to cover a rich interrelated web of life.
An awesome concept and somehow you can hear one heart beating within it, bringing it all together. I want to say clever but it's so much more. It is such an authentic read and the characters are superbly 'painted'.
A must listen.

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  • Sonja
  • 07-30-22

loved it!

Wow what a story.
I could not stop listening to his book. I was laughing crying and everything in between. I was sad that it ended.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-30-22

An incredible horse story!

Being a breeder of Thoroughbreds World Champion Quarter horses and an Australian, I delighted in the story of Lexington.
Obviously the writer had gone to great lengths to correctly identify the conformation of the horse, our words to describe, and put the FEEL into every incident!
This is by far the best book on horses I have read in my entire long life.
I was rivited to my seat.
I suggest a movie would be well develop from this book.
The black history was fascinating.

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  • Helen
  • 07-24-22

Unique, memorable and beautifully written

Multiple storyline’s and groups of characters woven together with sophistication and insight and telling a fascinating story. Geraldine Brooks has amazing talent in her ability to bring characters and settings to life that enrich the readers world. Beautifully written- loved it!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-13-22

Race Horse, Art and Race

Such a rewarding read! An excellent story well evoked by the readers and an insight into the iniquities suffered by African Americans through bigotry, ignorance and sheer malice. I loved the weaving of a deep understanding and sensitivity to horses and their training within the racing ‘industry’ of the time along with the characters and ethos of pre Civil War America along with the role of art, art history and the amazing work in the contemporary world of historians and the work of the Smithsonian Institute. Loved it!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-10-22

A touching and cleverly written novel

I found it slow to begin with but keep with it you will not be sorry. I really enjoyed how the 2 narratives ran in parallel with the one set in the 1800's was subtly informing the more present day. loved it.

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  • Jennifer
  • 06-22-22

Fascinating Factually-based Fiction

This story doesn't shy away from the unsavoury truth that racism and white privileged still exists. Artfully entwining the protagonists across centuries through their mutual appreciation and dedication. Although horses and racing is far from an interest of mine, I became enthralled by the descriptions of the connection between beast and human. Once again, Geraldine Brooks has a winner in this book.