In The Mare, Gaitskill writes of race, parenting, early adolescence, and horses with the same tender complexity that marked her earlier work on sex and relationships. The book is written from inside the minds of its main characters. The perspective changes frequently, sometimes from one paragraph to the next. Together, these overlapping inner monologues offer a full portrait of the visible and invisible factors at play in each scene.
P.S. I see I did no plot synopsis for this book. You could follow one of the links to another review and get it, but here's mine:
A childless married couple, Ginger and Paul, sponsor an inner-city child at their home for two weeks in the summer, and following the official two weeks, Ginger, unable to lose the girl's presence, arranges for her to continue visiting and to return on weekends after school starts. There is a riding stable next door, where the girl, Velvet, falls in love with a dangerous, abused mare. The stable houses an interesting cast of characters (besides the horses), one of whom is Pat, the manager, who gives Velvet riding lessons in exchange for work. Ginger is jealous of the real mother, Silvia; Silvia -- a Dominican immigrant and single mother -- afraid for her daughter's safety; and Paul, feeling neglected, falls into an affair with a graduate student; while Velvet's life is complicated by the onset of puberty and new feelings towards boys, as well as the hurtful shifts of girl alliances. Does Ginger really love Velvet? Is she helping or hurting the girl? Helping or hurting her marriage to Paul? Is Silvia an abusive parent? What is her relationship to her young son, and why does she seem to love him so much more than her daughter? Will Velvet be destroyed in a tug-of-war between Ginger and Silvia? In the violence of her city neighborhood? By taking too many chances with a dangerous horse? How will all these characters negotiate the difficulties in their lives? None of my either/or questions can be answered that easily, and no question about the story can be dismissed with a simple yes or no.
For whatever answers you can find to whatever questions this book asks you -- and for pure enjoyment -- read the book!
|Published writer, Fearless Leader, bookseller, book and bubbly|
|New addition to bookstore wall|