This novel about horses and their breeders, owners, trainers, grooms, jockeys, traders, bettors, and other turf-obsessed humans is a winner. Smiley knows a prodigious amount about Thoroughbreds, and she is as good at describing the stages of their lives, their temperaments, and personalities as she is in chronicling the ambitions, financial windfalls and ruins, love affairs, partings, and reconciliations of her large cast of human characters. With settings that range from California and Kentucky to Paris, the novel covers two years in which the players vie with each other to produce a mount that can win high-stakes races. Readers will discover that hundreds of things can go wrong with a horse, from breeding through birth, training, and racing, and that every race has variables and hazards that can produce danger and death, as well as the loss of millions of dollars.
Jane gives an overview of the book:
Jane Smiley was born in Los Angeles, California, moved to the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri as an infant, and lived there through grammar school and high school (The John Burroughs School).
After getting her Bachelor of Art at Vassar College in 1971, she traveled in...