The Mare (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)

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Eleven-year-old Velvet doesn’t want to be a summer project for some rich white woman, and recovering alcoholic Ginger is unsure of how to help her inner-city guest. Each has needs that are awakened during the time they spend together, though neither realizes their relationship will stretch far beyond the allotted two weeks because of an abused and unpredictable horse.
Point of view switches back and forth between the two main characters, with an occasional shift to Ginger’s husband or Velvet’s mother. All of the characters are damaged, but Gaitskill resists neat solutions and no easy repairs are issued. Instead she shows the uncertainty, pain, frustration, and breathtaking moments of hope they share.

— Karen

November 2015 Indie Next List

“The Mare is the heart-wrenching story of a young inner-city girl in the Fresh Air Fund program who travels to a host family in upstate New York, where she befriends a frightened and abused racehorse at a nearby stable. Gaitskill navigates the ugly realities of both human and equine abuse, but, ultimately, this is a triumphant novel shaped by authentic characters and in which trust and determination win. Readers will be reminded of how our real-life connections with animals can both guide and heal.”
— Nancy Scheemaker (W), Northshire Bookstore Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, NY


One of the Best Books of the Year
The New York Times - The Washington Post - NPR - San Francisco Chronicle - Vanity Fair - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Kansas City Star

When Velveteen Vargas, an eleven-year-old Fresh Air Fund kid from Brooklyn, comes to stay with a family in upstate New York, what begins as a two-week visit blossoms into something much more significant. Soon Velvet finds herself torn between her host family--Ginger, a failed artist and shakily recovered alcoholic; and Paul, a college professor--and her own deeply tormented mother. The one constant becomes Velvet's newly discovered passion for horse riding--and especially for an abused, unruly mare named Fugly Girl. A stirring and deeply felt novel, The Mare is Mary Gaitskill's most poignant and powerful work yet--a stunning exploration of a girl and her horse, and of the way we connect with people from all walks of life.

About the Author

Mary Gaitskill is the author of the story collections Bad Behavior, Because They Wanted To (nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award), and Don't Cry, and the novels Veronica (nominated for a National Book Award) and Two Girls, Fat and Thin. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780307743602
ISBN-10: 0307743608
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Pages: 544
Language: English
Series: Vintage Contemporaries