Prince of the Track

James Ward

  • Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley
    Faber, 561 pp, £17.99, June 2000, ISBN 0 571 20540 2

In an early scene in Horse Heaven, Roberto Acevedo, a first-time jockey, waits in the changing room for his race to be called and looks at the books that have been left there over the years. ‘Louis L’Amour, Danielle Steele . . . Guy Davenport, T. Something Boyle. There was also a copy of Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale.’ What inspiration could a nervy jockey – or a confident novelist – hope to get from The Winter’s Tale? The closest thing to a horse in the play is that notorious bear.

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