Observer Review - Fiction

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Observer Review - Fiction

Summer books for older children, reviewed by Olivia Laing

It was inevitable that Jane Smiley, a Pulitzer prize-winning novelist who also breeds racehorses, would at some point turn her hand to a pony book. After all, she's experimented with pretty much every other genre going, from satire to romance to full-blooded tragedy, and the sound of hooves resounds through almost all of them. Nobody's Horse (Faber £6.99) tells the story of Abby Lovitt, the 12-year-old daughter of a fundamental Christian horse dealer. She's not supposed to get attached to the animals that come and go in their Californian yard, any more than she's supposed to learn about evolution or cheek her parents, but that's not an easy rule to follow when you spend every day in the saddle.

Abby's a brilliant heroine; self-possessed, moral and permanently on the verge of major trouble. Serious riders will appreciate the training tips - including a thorough debunking of a famous scene from The Horse Whisperer - but even those immune to the lure of the stable will empathise with the trials and tribulations of being a seventh grader. It's not always easy to switch from adult to children's fiction, but Smiley makes it look effortless. OLIVIA LAING

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on August 8, 2010 9:42 AM.

Observer Review - Picture Books was the previous entry in this blog.

Observer Review - Teenage Fiction is the next entry in this blog.

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