Horse – Geraldine Brooks

Horse – Geraldine Brooks

I wasn’t all that keen to read this one and then a friend recommended it very highly and I listened to an interview with Geraldine Brooks, Pip Williams and Sally Colin-James, which made me keen to read all three of their novels. Plus I had recently listened to A Year of Wonders.

Here’s the blurb…

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.

This was fabulous, how can anyone be so talented? To write from so many different perspectives? From a young enslaved black man, a 21st century scientist, a 19th century painter, a 20th century art collector, etc. Extraordinary. I am not interested in horses at all, but I found this story compelling and I can now appreciate what other people see in horses.

A review

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