Masterful Historical: Read Our Review of Horse by Geraldine Brooks

Masterful Historical: Read Our Review of Horse by Geraldine Brooks

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.

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, Horse is a gripping reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America. It’s always a privilege to read the work of Australian author and journalist Geraldine Brooks, whose novels March (her second novel and Pulitzer Prize-winner) and Caleb’s Crossing are meticulously researched pieces of historical fiction. She has once again woven a fascinating narrative in Horse ­– despite my limited knowledge of the equestrian world, I was wholly swept up by the story of one of America’s greatest ever racehorses, Lexington, and the characters that are connected across different time periods to this fine stallion.

Brooks is a master of taking a single strand, in this case Lexington, and building a story that encapsulates so much history. From the black workers who were the backbone of the racing industry in the 19th century, when racism was rife, to a 1950s art dealer who crosses paths with Jackson Pollock, and two passionate young Smithsonian researchers who become embroiled in contemporary police brutality and race relations – each story is equally intriguing, and together they paint a marvellous picture.

Horse is a not just a piece of sweeping historical fiction. It is moving, inspiring and vividly told – all things we have come to expect from one of our greatest homegrown writers. Geraldine Brooks truly is in a league of her own.

Buy a copy of Horse here.

Reviews

A Master Storyteller: Read an Extract from Horse by Geraldine Brooks

Review | Extract

16 June 2022

A Master Storyteller: Read an Extract from Horse by Geraldine Brooks

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      Publisher details

      Horse
      Author
      Geraldine Brooks
      Publisher
      Hachette
      Genre
      Fiction
      Released
      15 June, 2022
      ISBN
      9780733639678

      Synopsis

      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.

      Geraldine Brooks
      About the author

      Geraldine Brooks

      Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issues.In 1982 she won the Greg Shackleton Australian News Correspondents scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University in New York City. Later she worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans. In 2006 she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University.She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2006 for her novel March. Her most recent novel, Caleb’s Crossing, was a New York Times best seller. Other novels, Year of Wonders and People of the Book, are international bestsellers, translated into more than 25 languages. She is also the author of the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence.Brooks married author Tony Horwitz in Tourette-sur-Loup, France, in 1984. They have two sons– Nathaniel and Bizuayehu–a dog named Milo and a horse named Butter. They live by an old mill pond on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

      Books by Geraldine Brooks

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