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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating horses, 15 Sept. 2009
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
An account by Jane Smiley of one year in her life as a racehorse owner and breeder might not seem the most riveting of proposals, but she brings such warmth and energy to this account that the reader cannot help but be enthralled. She has sympathy with the racehorses and with the people who help her manage them. Her manager, Alexis and the trainer of her horses, Ray, come in for particular attention as she tries to get to grips with what it is about horses that so completely fascinates her.

She is knowledgeable and above all interested in everything to do with horses, but she doesn't overload her, quite possibly, non-horse-people readership with too much information, wisely keeping specialist terms to footnotes that we can read if we wish. She paces the book very well, with some psychological insights alongside some anecdotes or stories and she gives a real sense of what it is like to really love the animals of which she has charge. Horses have personalities and traits and minds, albeit of a limited kind. But what this book makes you realise quite acutely is that they have many more senses than humans, along with sensualities and feelings that they are not often given credit for.

This is a very enjoyable book, whether you are into horses or not, because above all Smiley knows how to make things seem important and, often, enthrallingly so.
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A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money and Luck
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