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.
About the Author
Talley English received the Academy of American Poets’ Gertrude Claytor Poetry Prize. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“English evokes a vibrant world with grit, patience, and insight.” —Emily Culliton, author of The Misfortune of Marion Palm
“A sharp yet spare debut . . . English’s writing, which is hauntingly ascetic, mirrors the many things left unsaid in the French family.” —Booklist
“Quiet, restrained . . . much like Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street.” —School Library Journal
“Insightful yet free of sentimentality, English’s book reaches a surprising and resonant conclusion.” —The National Book Review
“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. Brilliantly written, and ruthlessly felt.” —Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls’ Rising
“Talley English is a writer of power and perception. . . . This is a nuanced portrayal of the world we might remember wandering once, a memoir of a novel that gives us a language for our grief over the world we miss, the one in which animals were our brothers and sisters, when the world was big enough to hold all of us at once.” —Cathryn Hankla, author of Lost Places
“Very well written. . . . English’s stripped-down prose works well to convey Teagan’s increasing alienation.” —Kirkus Reviews
“I am stunned by [this] book. . . . Horse gets at some murky, painful, and honest stuff.” —Philip Martin, Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
“Unmistakably a novel by a poet . . . [with] the quality of serious poetry, words chosen and sentences made for clarity that surprises. . . . Full of feeling.” —Shawangunk Journal
“An original portrait of family disruption, the relationship of horse and rider, and ongoing grief.” —Library Journal
“An accomplished debut novel. . . . Plays out with sensitivity and the graceful prose of a poet.” —Shelf Awareness