- 109,00 kr
Following her National Book Award–nominated Veronica, here is Mary Gaitskill’s most poignant and powerful work yet—the story of a Dominican girl, the Anglo woman who introduces her to riding, and the horse who changes everything for her.
Velveteen Vargas is eleven 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 recovered alcoholic, and her academic husband, Paul, who wonder what it will mean to “make a difference” in such a contrived situation. Gaitskill illuminates their shifting relationship with Velvet over several years, as well as Velvet’s encounter with the horses at the stable down the road—especially with an abused, unruly mare called Fugly Girl. With strong supporting characters—Velvet’s abusive mother, an eccentric horse trainer, a charismatic older boy who awakens Velvet’s nascent passion—The Mare traces Velvet’s journey between the vital, violent world of the inner city and the world of the small-town stable.
In Gaitskill’s hands, the timeless story of a girl and a horse is joined with a timely story of people from different races and classes trying to meet one another honestly. The Mare is raw, heart-stirring, and original.
In this novel by National Book Award finalist Gaitskill (Veronica), 11-year-old Dominican-American Velveteen "Velvet" Vargas from Crown Heights in Brooklyn is invited to spend a few weeks with a white couple in upstate New York as part of the Fresh Air Fund sponsorship program. The demure and self-possessed girl is skeptical of the situation at first, but as she continues to visit over the next three years, she develops a relationship with Ginger an ex-addict and amateur artist and Ginger's professor husband, Paul, as well as with the horses at a nearby stable. True to form, as Velvet learns to trust her instinct and develops a talent for riding a feisty horse she renames Fiery Girl, her confidence soars. But problems arise when Velvet hits puberty and discovers boys: Velvet's single mother, fierce and prone to violence, refuses to allow Velvet to ride and repeatedly calls her worthless, while Ginger goes off the rails dealing with her own insecurities. Gaitskill is renowned for her edgy writing, but the book narrated by different characters treads into stereotype. More nuanced portrayals might have made Velvet's bumpy growth into an independent young woman more palatable.