Horse - Geraldine Brooks


By Geraldine Brooks

  • Release Date: 2022-06-14
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
Score: 4.5
From 2,473 Ratings


“Brooks’ chronological and cross-disciplinary leaps are thrilling.” —The New York Times Book Review

Horse isn’t just an animal story—it’s a moving narrative about race and art.” —TIME

A thrilling story about humanity in all its ugliness and beauty . . . the evocative voices create a story so powerful, reading it feels like watching a neck-and-neck horse race, galloping to its conclusion—you just can’t look away.” —Oprah Daily

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award · Finalist for the Chautauqua Prize · A Massachusetts Book Award Honor Book 

A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history

Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. When the nation erupts in civil war, an itinerant young artist who has made his name on paintings of the racehorse takes up arms for the Union. On a perilous night, he reunites with the stallion and his groom, very 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 nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.
Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in 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.
Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred Lexington, Horse is a novel of art and science, love and obsession, and our unfinished reckoning with racism.


  • Enjoyed it until the books took on a heavy political tone

    By ReaderKate
    I read a lot of historical fiction, and this was well-researched and written. It was somewhat spoiled for me at the end when the book became heavily political with the storyline in the present focused on Theo’s death by a police officer and the resultant references to racism. I read to escape current events.
  • Exceptional Read

    By Woahthatguy123
    Great book
  • Beautiful writing.

    By bookophile in Calif
    I wish there was more!
  • Review

    By Anna+daylen2
    I loved this book. Her use of language and imagery really made me enjoy this writer. At first, I didn’t like going back and forth from the 1800’s to present day. Then I realized that there was no other way this story could be told. I also liked the fact of racism which is always present and never leaves us. The story of horse racing was incredible, comparing it with slavery made me want to tell others about this book.
  • Horse

    By Ms category
    Though this novel travels between the 1850’s to present day, the author has beautifully given a richness to each story with the heartwarming characters and important philosophies. Though it centers around a horse, the kindnesses and cruelty of human nature is center stage. The dilemma of black persons in this country is demonstrated without apology. Well worth the read.
  • Amazing Horse & Story

    By Mikeyqywueur
    As the author said in the afterword, this is a book not just of a magnificent thoroughbred racehorse and later stud, but of the times in which the Horse lived. Wonderful writing and wonderful to read.
  • Shameful Agenda

    By EHT1960
    What a biased book. Took what could have made a wonderful story, but then covered every possible political agenda she could thing of, to create division in our culture.
  • Not just about a horse

    By 60monkeys
    This was a great book to read! Lots of history and keeps you entertained!
  • 5 stars

    By MED AZ
    Wonderful book, interesting and provocative! A must read for certain.
  • Historically Facinating

    By Miozzi!1918
    Having spent a good portion of my adult life in the business of breading and raising thoroughbred horses, I found Horse to be extremely informative not only regarding Lexington but also regarding Scott and Troye. Brooks’ story encouraged me to delve into the history of this period of horse racing. Sadly, I found many of Ms. Brooks’ other characters to be gratuitous and pandering to issues of race and homosexuality.