‘Horse’ by Talley English
WHO: Talley English
WHAT: HORSE, a debut novel
WHEN: Published by Knopf August 7, 2018
WHERE: The author lives in Charlottesville VA.
WHY: “Brilliantly written, and ruthlessly felt, this novel marks the debut of a talent strong for the long haul.
Horse might look like another story about a girl and her horse, which it is and is more: an unflinching examination of what it is to be an animal, what it is to be human, the difference and overlap between the two, and how to manage that intersection. Anyone who’s ever tried to care for a creature from a hamster on up will love it and learn from it.” —Madison Smartt Bell
“A sharp yet spare debut…English’s writing is hauntingly ascetic.”
—Poornima Apte, BOOKLIST
When Teagan’s father abruptly abandons his family and his farm, Teagan finds herself wading through the wreckage of what was once an idyllic life, searching for something — or someone — to hold on to. What she finds is Ian, short for Obsidian: the magnificent but dangerously headstrong horse her father left behind. But even as she grows close to Ian, patiently training him, trying to overcome her fear of him, Teagan is learning that life and love are fragile. With an unflinching eye and remarkable restraint, Talley English tells a piercing story about how families hold together and fall apart; about loss and grief; about friendship; about the blunt cruelty of chance; and, finally, about forgiveness.
. . . . .
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK:
Ian was broken English. The language he spoke was horse, a form of sign language: it involved eye contact; it was mostly touch. The English saddle was plain, sloped up in front and back; the bridle had a noseband and a throat lash; the bit was a snaffle. Watch how the horse stood, and see how the rider swung onto his back. (I am reminded that a horse is not born able to carry a rider; the muscles of his back must strengthen over time. If the horse is well trained, then the rider can think a word, walk, rather than say it, and the horse will respond to a nuanced shift in the rider’s body, and follow the command.) See the rider, who feels a pull in her arms as the horse’s head moves with his stride; watch the swing of his rib cage from side to side. The horse; the rider. The image was not new, but there was something to it: when horse and rider are one body within a web of language.
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Knopf. 315 pages. $26.95
To interview the author, contact:
Josie Kals | 212-572-2565 | firstname.lastname@example.org