A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and Lexington, the greatest racehorse in American history. From these strands of fact, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids a story that sweeps from antebellum racetracks to the vibrant post-WWII art scene in Manhattan to the Smithsonian’s high-tech osteology labs.
. A bright bay foal and his enslaved groom forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South, even as the nation reels towards war. An itinerant young artist who makes his name from paintings of the horse takes up arms for the Union and reconnects with the stallion and his groom on a dangerous night far from the glamor of any racetrack. New York City, 1954
. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a 19th equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance. Washington, DC, 2019
. As a Smithsonian scientist studies the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, an art historian seeks the lost history of the Black trainers and grooms often depicted with the horse and who were critical to his racing success.
With the moral complexity of March
and a gripping multi-stranded narrative reminiscent of People of the Book
, this enthralling audiobook explores the unexpected connections swirling around Lexington, whose record-breaking times drew adoring crowds and whose success as a stud sire has never been surpassed. Leaning heavily on Lexington’s remarkable true story, both on the track and during the Civil War, Brooks highlights the unsung contribution of the Black horsemen on whose expertise vast fortunes relied. Horse
is the latest masterpiece from Geraldine Brooks, a writer with a prodigious gift for bringing the past to life.