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The Mare

Mary Gaitskill.
Publisher Pantheon  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
ISBN 9780307379740
Pages/Publication Date 441/2015
Daedalus Item Code 72473
List Price: $26.95
Sale Price: $4.98
You Save: $21.97
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Here, by the author of the National Book Award nominee Veronica, is the story of a Dominican girl, an Anglo woman who introduces her to riding, and the horse who changes everything for her. Velveteen Vargas is 11 years old, a Fresh Air Fund kid from Brooklyn. Her host family is a couple in upstate New York: Ginger, a failed artist and shakily recovering alcoholic, and her academic husband, Paul, who wonder what it will mean to "make a difference." Mary Gaitskill illuminates the couple's shifting relationship with Velvet over several years, as well as Velvet's encounter with the horses at the stable down the road, particularly with an abused, unruly mare called Fugly Girl. With a cast of strong supporting characters—Velvet's abusive mother, an eccentric horse trainer, and a charismatic older boy who awakens Velvet's nascent passion—The Mare traces Velvet's journey between the vital and violent world of the inner city and the world of the small-town stable.

"Ms. Gaitskill is such a preternaturally gifted writer that nearly every page of The Mare shimmers with exacting and sometimes hallucinatory observation."—New York Times

"Gaitskill has not lost her gift for transforming the outside world into the particular vision of one of her characters, rich and perplexed, and The Mare ripples with internal emotional movement, but it is also a physical novel ... the book is an exciting read. Nothing stands still, not the horses, not the violent mother or the would-be mother, not the vicious jealous friends, not the boyfriend or husband, not the sky."—New York Review of Books

"The range of Gaitskill's humanity is astonishing and matched only, it seems, by a desire to confront readers with the trembling reality of our shared ugliness.... This is a coming-of-age story in the way we are always coming of age, whether we are 13 or 47. What elevates it is the way Gaitskill rides herd on sentimentality, which isn't to suggest that the work isn't emotional—it is. It's just that there are no false notes, no stumbles in the rare moments of tenderness. It's brave and bold to publish a book like this. Make no mistake: The women in this book, like Gaitskill herself, are mares."—Los Angeles Times

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