A Year at the Races by Jane Smiley
Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money, and Luck

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The Pulitzer Prize—winning author of A Thousand Acres gallops into territory she first explored in her acclaimed best-selling novel Horse Heaven (“Deeply satisfying . . . a smart, warmhearted, winning book” –New York Times Book Review) with this irresistible account of her lifelong love affair with horses.

Smiley draws upon her firsthand knowledge of horses, as well as the wisdom of trainers, vets, jockeys, and even a real-life horse whisperer, to examine the horse on all levels–practical, theoretical, and emotional. She shares not only “cute stories” about her own horses, but also fascinating and original insights into horse–and human–behavior. To all this she adds an element of drama and suspense as two of her own horses begin their careers at the racetrack. As the sexy black filly Waterwheel and the elegant gray colt Wowie aspire to the winner’s circle, we are enchanted, enthralled–and informed about what it’s really like to own, train, and root for a Thoroughbred.

A Year at the Races is charming, funny, and a bit outrageous: a candid exploration of the abiding bond between humans and horses, told with panache, intelligence, and humor.

About Jane Smiley

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Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including, most recently, Good Faith, as well as a critically acclaimed biography of Charles Dickens. She is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001. Smiley owns several horses and lives in Northern California.
Published April 13, 2004 by Knopf. 304 pages
Genres: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Sports & Outdoors, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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she comments on Thoroughbred companionability (a concept horsemen tend to scoff at), arguing that the animals seem to take pleasure in wandering or sparring and actually “like to form hierarchies.” Smiley is a close observer, and what she notes is always interesting: a particular horse’s desire f...

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Entertainment Weekly

A breeder of thoroughbreds herself, novelist Smiley (Horse Heaven) imparts a different kind of horse sense as she follows a year in the life of her promising colt Hornblower and filly Waterwheel.

Apr 23 2004 | Read Full Review of A Year at the Races: Reflecti...

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