Talley English • Knopf • August 7, 2018 • 336 Pages
Teagan has spent her entire life on the family farm with her mom, dad, and older brother. They raise horses, and Teagan loves her life. Her family isn’t perfect, but things are humming along okay…until her father cheats on her mom and then abruptly moves out. The whole family is thrown into a tailspin, with each person withdrawing and isolating themselves, trying to process what’s happened. To cope, Teagan focuses her attention on her father’s wild horse, Ian. In the process of taming him, she works out her feelings of abandonment, confusion, and resentment toward her father.
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Horse is a unique book. The writing is slow and melancholy. Each sentence is stoic and staccato, but also thoughtful and full of suppressed feeling. It’s poetic. And, yes, sometimes boring. It reminds me of (a lesser version of) Lime Creek by Joe Henry or Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen (full review here). Though the writing is beautiful at times, I was confused by all the time shifting in the story—sometimes even multiple shifts within the same chapter. It interrupted the flow of the book and, frankly, annoyed me. I also thought the ending was way too abrupt.
Ultimately, I didn’t care for this book. But I think others will. If you love horses and/or have experience riding them as a child, you will definitely want to read Horse. The amount of time English spends talking about Teagan and Ian’s bond is crazy—and probably most meaningful to people who’ve shared the experience.
Thank you to Knopf and Amazon Vine for the Advanced Reader Copy!