Geraldine Brooks © Randi Baird.

Geraldine Brooks Probes Racing—and Race—in Her New Historical Novel, Horse

From Oprah Magazine “The Pulitzer Prize winner explores the unwritten true tale of America’s most famous racehorse—and uses that story to show how far we need to go in confronting systemic racism.

Don’t let the title fool you; Geraldine Brooks’s Horse is not Black Beauty for grown-ups. Yes, the title character is one of history’s most famous equine celebrities, a foal named Darley, who later became a pop culture phenomenon called Lexington—and was revered as the fastest horse in the world. But first and foremost, Horse is a thrilling story about humanity in all its ugliness and beauty.

Lexington is one of several characters in the book—the rest of them human—based on real-life figures, as Horse is a product of careful research fleshed out with vivid imagination. It’s a technique that has served Brooks well; she earned a Pulitzer Prize for March, which follows the fictional father in Little Women, based in part on the real-life Bronson Alcott. But while the historic detail in the book is impressive, it’s the fictions filling in the blanks where Brooks’s genius truly shines.”

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