Horse lovers looking for the next great read about a racehorse need search no further than Horse, A Novel. This latest work by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks is based on the true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred Lexington, who became America’s greatest stud sire. The book spans three time periods and traces the history the famous 19th century racehorse who was the sire of generations of top American thoroughbreds. But the story also follows the people who surrounded Lexington during his lifetime, many of whom were Black and enslaved.
The novel moves back and forth through time starting in 1850 when an enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forged a bond. This foal would become Lexington, who was painted by a local artist before the Civil War. In 1954 New York’s turbulent art scene, gallery owner Martha Jackson becomes obsessed with the painting of the horse, whose provenance is shrouded in mystery. And finally, in 2019 Washington DC we meet Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, who connect over the horse ‒ one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.
Geraldine Brooks talks about her book in this video: