The Horsewhisperer - Nicholas Evans

The Horsewhisperer

by Nicholas Evans

About the author

Nicholas Evans is born in 1950. He studied law in Oxford and after finishing his exams he worked as a journalist. He wrote unusual reports about the USA and the Near East.

Promoted by film director David Lean he began at the beginning of the 80`s his career as a scriptauthor.

His first novel was the Horsewhisperer which was the number one international bestseller in 1995. When he finished only the first part of this 500 page book, Robert Redford bought the whole script to make a film out of the novel.

Nicholas Evans lives with his wife and his two children in London and has finished his second novel one year ago.

About the story

There is a little perfect family living in New York. Grace is the only child of a prominent New York magazine editor, Annie Graves, and her lawyer husband Robert. Grace loves to ride horses, especially her own, Pilgrim. In the still of a snow-covered morning Grace rides out with her best friend Judith and her horse Gulliver as usual as Grace is hit by a 40-ton truck. Judith and Gulliver died while Grace falls into a coma and Pilgrim runs away with terrible wounds. Though horribly injured, both thirteen-year-old Grace and Pilgrim survive. But the impact on their lives and the lives of those who love them is devastating. The accident should influence and change their whole life completely and make them never forget that day.

When they caught Pilgrim, the veterinary recommends to Annie and Robert to kill it because it is so terribly hurt. They have never seen a horse in such a bad condition before. So mutilated and traumatized is it that even the vet who saved Pilgrims life now wishes he

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hadn`t. Annie refuses against all the other people to have him destroyed, sensing that if she does, something in Grace will die too. When Grace wakes up from her coma there is another bad shock for her: She has only one leg left and now has to live with an artificial right leg. That fact and her whole trauma is changing her personality completely. She stops talking and decides to never ride again. Annie notices that she is on the best way to lose her daughter. She hears about a man in Montan, a "whisperer" who is said to have the gift of healing troubled horses. Abandoning her job, Annie sets off across the continent with Grace and Pilgrim to find him. The man`s name is Tom Booker and he lives on the Rocky Mountain Front, a place of mysterious beauty. Tom heals Pilgrim. In the end he saves Graces life by running into a herd of wild mustangs which are attacking Grace and Pilgrim and dies himself.

Grace gets to know that Tom has splitted her family apart. The sudden and unexpectable end is that Annie is living with her daughter Grace, Pilgrim and a little baby, expecting it by Tom.

About the book

The characters are very special. Maybe Nicholas Evans knows people like Annie, Robert, Grace or Tom himself. Maybe that`s why he can tell in such a sensitive way their feelings, their ways of thinking and their relationships to each other.

Annie is a person who wants to have everything under her control. She is a strong person who doesn`t allow herself to have feelings or show them to her environment or her family. As a New Yorker businesswoman she wants to make everything perfect. She only wants the best for her daugther and doesn´t want her to get hurt. She never notices that it`s sometimes too much for Grace.

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I think the following quote supports my argument on their relationship.

"What the hell do you care?" She (Grace) screamed. "You decide! You always do! You pretend you care what other people want, but you don`t, it`s just bullshit!"

"Grace", Annie said gently, putting a hand out. But Grace smacke it away. "Don`t! Just leave me alone!"

page 193

After this confrontation of both the relationship between them gets worser. It´s not because Grace hates her mother or something, it`s just because she thinks that she will never be so perfect and great like her mother. It`s also because her own mother will never accept her as a grown-up.

Grace herself never noticed that her mother isn´t as perfect as she pretends to be. She also has her own problems which she just can`t talk about. Not talking about is her special way of solving problems. She never shows her insid to the others.

"All her life she had lived where she didn`t belong. America wasn´t her home. And nor, when she went there now, was England. In each country they treated her as if she came from the other. The truth was, she came fom nowhere. She had no home. Not since her father died. She was rootless, tribeless, adrift."

page 195

Annie knows that it is maybe not the right way and that she doesn`t help Grace at all when she behaves strong to herself and to Grace. But she just can`t act in another way, like it`s written as the following quote shows.

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"In the past three mont she had been the strong one, fooling herself that it was what Grace needed. Having lost all connection with herself, she had lost it, too with her child!"

page 195

There`s one moment where both, Annie and Grace, can`t go on like this anymore and maybe it`s because of the influence of Tom Booker when their relationship suddenly changes.

By the following scene the story turned to a different point and it was the first time I started to cry.

"Annie sat on the bed and took her daughter in her armsAnnie felt the childs sobs convulse them as if they were but one body. "Who ever`s going to want me? Nobody will."

"That`s not true."

" because you`re you. You`re incredible. You´re beautifulstrongbravest person I ever met in my whole life."

page 315

Grace told her mother that seh hadn`t meant the terrible things she`d said and Annie said she knew, but there was she too, and as a mother she had done so many things wrong.

"they let flew from their hearts words they`d barely dored utter to themselves."

page 316

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From now on everything went better between mother and daughter. But there should come something much more difficult for Annie`s whole future life. It was the fact that the relationship between her and Tom Booker was going to be more than she thought.

Tom Booker is not only a man who helps the McLean family and their horse. The relationship between Annie and the "whisperer" gets deeper and deeper. At the final end, Annie and Tom

both realise that most people who think they love each other and marry, do not know, what real love is like. Such a real love began to grow between Annie and Tom but it`s too late.

"And what do you feel?"

He said simply: "That I love you." Then he smiled and gave a little shrug that almost broke her heart. "That`s all."

page 418/419

"Could you choose to lose me?"

"No", he simply said, "But I don`t have to."

"You said Pilgrim went to the brink and saw what was beyond and then choose to accept it." "But for us it wouldn`t be pain and suffering."

He shook his head. Annie felt a rush of anger now. At him for uttering what she knew in her heart to be right and at herself for the sobs now racking her body. "You don`t want me." "Oh, Annie, you`ll never know how much I want you."

page 454

Hopefully we all are going to meet a person and get to know what real love is like!

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Point of view

This novel is definitely a faboulous masterwork. It`s not written only for horsefans, it`s more than that. It`s more to learn about people, life and love. A story told simply but elegantly. The most remarkable thing about this book is that it actually earns the great pupularity to enjoy. I wasn`t able to put it down while reading through it. The book is excellent written and sometimes I had to hold my breath. You don´t have to be mad about horses to enjoy it, it`s

just lively written with a believable love story. The novel is full of emotions and I was really moved after I´ve finished reading. It touches your heart and your sense and I can highly recommend it to everyone. It´s hard to find words but this fascinating story and its tender love affair make it a splendid read.

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