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Fran H-B

Bit of a wait at the library but always good to have something to look forward to. My grandfather was an ostler before WW1, then sent out to France to help care for them once he had signed up. I have often wondered about his time out there. He died before I was born so never knew him. Once the war was over he never really worked again. Having been gassed his health was poor and he didn't make the switch to driving as so many men did as motor cars took over.


In the ordinary way of things I would avoid this book because I have a morbid fear of horses but your description of it has me intrigued, not least because I am a great fan of John Clare's poetry and I suspect that I might find an echo here.


How interesting, Fran. A hard life indeed.


John Clare hadn't occurred to me, but you might well find echoes.
Regarding the horses, Tim Pears has written about them with such feeling and knowledge - there's nothing superficial or sketchy here - that you could perhaps tolerate them better than you might expect. Apparently, as a boy he seldom rode or had much to do with his family's horses, but he must have absorbed/observed a great deal almost unwittingly and he's used that experience to great effect here.


Have just finished reading the Horseman , a wonderful story reminding me of the work of H E Bates.
I loved your description of the book as aseries of still-life scenes, that is just how it read.


Just finished The Horseman and feel curiously bereft - I do hope Tim Pears is well on with the rest of Leo's story.
Horses played a huge part in my life growing up and I come from farming ancestry on both sides in Ireland and Yorkshire, so maybe it is ancestral memory that is partly why this book had such a hold on me as well as the wonderful writing.

My dad's family still farm in County Kerry and still had some working horses in the late 60's although they were Irish Draughts not Shires and my maternal great-grandfather was a horse master for a brewery in Leeds in the early 1900's: my granny told stories of delivery men having had one too many refreshers during the round and relying on the dray horses to bring them home safely - which they always did!

Deborah Vass

I have just read "The Horseman", after remembering this review, and just wanted to say thank you for recommending such an exquisite and moving book. I too felt quite bereft having finished it, but am greatly looking forward to the next.

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