This is much more than just a ‘horse’ story. There is a horse in this story and he was a real life Thoroughbred stallion, called Lexington, who broke records with his wins as a racehorse and as a sire was the leading sire in North America 16 times. . He lived from 1850 to 1875. His groom Jarret is one of main characters in this book. Jarret was a slave. When the horse owner sold Lexington Jarret was sold with him. This book devotes each chapter to one character.There are five main characters: Jarret, who in the 1850s, was the groom of the stallion Lexington and formed an unbreakable bond with the horse, Thomas J Scott an artist who painted Lexington in the 1850s, Theo a Nigerian Art historian,in Washington DC,2019, who having discovered an oil painting of a racehorse in a junk pile, is trying to uncover the lost history of the Black horseman who was responsible for the horse’s success, Jess a Smithsonian scientist, who in 2019, is studying the skeleton of a famous 19th century racehorse to determine how he was able to run so fast, and Martha Jackson, the owner of an art gallery who, in 1954, becomes very interested in the provenance of a 19th Century oil painting of a racehorse.
As you can tell these characters are all interwoven by their relationship with the stallion Lexington. But there is more in this book than the story of the horse. Thomas J. Scott the artist is from the North and in the Civil War fights for the Union.He encounters Jarrett and Lexington one night during the war in a life threatening situation.
While reading this book I was shocked to find how little I knew or understood about slavery in the US. But as I read on the issues surrouding racism today in the US became clearer. Clear enough that the sudden death of one of the main characters did not surprise me. But I was shocked that it did not. With the recent high profile deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police I could see this character’s death coming. I don’t think this is a spoiler you will see it just as I did.
This is an excellent read and I highly recommend it. The book is well written and cleverly crafted to carry you along with the five stories. Five stars for “Horse” *****
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