Synopses & Reviews
The Pulitzer Prizewinning author of A Thousand Acres
gallops into territory she first explored in her acclaimed best-selling novel Horse Heaven
("Deeply satisfying...a smart, warmhearted, winning book" New York Times Book Review
) with this irresistible account of her lifelong love affair with horses.
Smiley draws upon her firsthand knowledge of horses, as well as the wisdom of trainers, vets, jockeys, and even a real-life horse whisperer, to examine the horse on all levels practical, theoretical, and emotional. She shares not only "cute stories" about her own horses, but also fascinating and original insights into horse and human behavior. To all this she adds an element of drama and suspense as two of her own horses begin their careers at the racetrack. As the sexy black filly Waterwheel and the elegant gray colt Wowie aspire to the winners circle, we are enchanted, enthralled and informed about what it's really like to own, train, and root for a Thoroughbred.
A Year at the Races is charming, funny, and a bit outrageous: a candid exploration of the abiding bond between humans and horses, told with panache, intelligence, and humor.
"Smiley is a close observer, and what she notes is always interesting....The surety and glow of her prose fragrantly convey the author's sensuous and protective love for horses; she's the kind of mother any foal would be lucky to have." Kirkus Reviews
"Smiley succeeds brilliantly in portraying horses not only as fully sentient beings but also as beautiful and intriguing creatures of unique intelligence and heart, who have, over the course of centuries, greatly enhanced and graced human life." Donna Seaman, Booklist (Starred Review)
"Exuberant... witty, completely delightful.... A kind of National Velvet for adults." San Francisco Chronicle
"Invigorating... thought-provoking. A delightful book filled with arcane horse knowledge.... It could easily become the bible of the barn." The Baltimore Sun
“Every horse story is a love story,” writes Jane Smiley, who has loved horses for most of her life and owned and bred them for a good part of it. To love something is to observe it with more than usual attention, and that is precisely what Smiley does in this irresistibly smart, witty, and engaging chronicle of her obsession.
In particular she follows a sexy filly named Waterwheel and a grey named Wowie (he “tells” a horse communicator that he wants it changed from Hornblower) as they begin careers at the racetrack. Filled with humor and suspense, and with discourses on equine intelligence, affection, and character, A Year at the Races is a winner.
About the Author
Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including, most recently, Good Faith,
as well as a critically acclaimed biography of Charles Dickens. She is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001. Smiley owns several horses and lives in Northern California.
From the Hardcover edition.