PublishedHachette Australia, June 2022
FormatHardcover, 416 pages
Dimensions24.1cm × 16.1cm × 3.7cm
'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.
'Geraldine Brooks' soulful tour de force ... The storytelling is magical and so too are the characters, whose pleasure and pain we feel intensely' The Australian Women's Weekly
'Historical fiction at its best. Brooks has once more weighed into American history, offering bold characterisation, a compelling story, and a fresh perspective on narratives of self-definition, progress and change' In Daily
'A splendid novel' The Saturday Paper
'Bring[s] to light the way that race and power are encoded into everyday interactions ... a deeply compassionate novel' Weekend Australian
'With tender precision, Horse shows us history in flux' The Guardian
'A novel infused with love, loss and shared history ... Brooks has a knack for writing historical fiction that plugs into the zeitgeist' The Age
'Geraldine Brooks is one of our most gifted historical novelists' Boston