When Robert French abruptly leaves his family, the most substantial being left behind is Ian, a horse. His teenage daughter, Teagan, and Ian relate to each other with a mixture of fear and respect that grows into familiarity. This novel is too deep and too poetic to be considered a YA novel. Rather it is a very mature examination of relationships that encompass both people and animals. The setting is clearly reminiscent of exurban Charlottesville, Virginia, where Talley English was raised and now resides and of Roanoke where she earned her Masters in creative writing at Hollins University. “Written in short, elegant chapters resembling prose poems, Horse bucks traditional narrative form . . . Insightful yet free of sentimentality, English’s book reaches a surprising and resonant conclusion.”—The National Book Review. “Talley English magically combines the narrative drive of a novelist with the linguistic sensitivity of a poet and the wisdom of a woman who has lived her life in nature. A book for anyone who loves horses and good novels.” —Pinckney Benedict. “Horse is about the beauty of words. About the beauty of relationships. About the beauty of beauty. What the author has captured with this novel is a unique combination of stunning language, heartwarming and heartbreaking relationships, and gorgeous scenery and landscapes. Horse is an astounding debut, a multi-layered novel that clearly marks Talley English as a writer to watch.” —Scott Loring Sanders.
New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2018. 314 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.