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The Horse Whisperer Hardcover – September 11, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (September 11, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385315236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385315234
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (701 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Horse Whisperer is a story made in Hollywood heaven. The novel was written by a first-time author, and the film option was snapped up by aging heartthrob Robert Redford for 3 million smackers. Why take such risks on a brand-spanking-new author? The answer becomes clear upon reading the touching tale.

One morning while teenage Grace Maclean is riding Pilgrim, her goofy, loveable pony, she has a horrendous glass-shattering, bone-splintering, ligament-lynching meeting with a megaton truck that leaves her and her four-legged friend damaged in mind, body, and spirit. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, her jaded, brilliant, bitchy mom, Annie Graves (Kristin Scott Thomas in the 1998 film) is working out a wrinkle in her self-absorbed existence when she gets a call at her plush, Manhattan office about Grace's accident. Racked with guilt, Graves makes it her calling to find the mythical horse whisperer, an equine Zen master who has the ability to heal horses (and broken souls) with soothing words and a gentle touch. Just when it seems he can't be found, what do you know, she finds him. He arrives in the form of Tom Booker-- a rugged, sensitive, dreamy cowboy who helps Pilgrim and Grace repair their fractured selves. To add more mesquite to fire, Booker has a way with not-so-injured, attractive, married women--like Annie. As the plot thickens, so does the familial strife, which threatens to undo Booker's healing work.

Like an expert cinematographer, Evans deftly crafts each scene with precision and clarity, sprinkling in ominous signs and foreboding images. For example, in the opening paragraphs, as Annie starts out on the tragic ride, she comes across a bloody bird wing that seems to have fallen out of nowhere. The weight of impending doom is further strengthened by the truck driver's bad luck--he has a run-in with the highway patrol just moments before his meeting with Grace and Pilgrim. These not-so-subtle subliminal messages are masterfully stitched in throughout the story and may compel readers to act as if they were watching a B-grade horror movie, shouting aloud, "Don't go there!" However sentimental, The Horse Whisperer is an engaging read, sort of like a finely tuned, well-edited film. --Rebekah Warren

From Publishers Weekly

After all the fuss about the multimillion-dollar book and movie deals for this first novel from a British screenwriter and producer, the book itself is a mild anticlimax. It will undoubtedly be a major seller, however, for it touches a number of hot-wire themes: worldly success versus the simple life, the redeeming power of love, the mystique of animals?all set against a wide-screen background of Montana. But the screenwriter's hand has not been displaced by the novelist's creative imagination, and at too many points the book feels manipulative and schematic, the characters under-realized, just waiting to be filled out by star performers. The narrative begins with a frightful accident: teenage Grace Maclean, daughter of nice-guy lawyer Robert and tough, English-born magazine editor Annie, is out riding near their country home in upstate New York on a snowy day, and she and her beautiful horse Pilgrim are hit by a skidding tractor-trailer. Grace is crippled, Pilgrim desperately injured and mentally shattered. Annie takes things firmly in hand, finds a cowboy, Tom Booker, who is a wizard with horses and, with Grace and Pilgrim in tow, heads out to Montana in search of healing for the horse and ultimate recovery for Grace. Not surprisingly, she and the firm but gentle Booker fall in love?and this is where the frequent comparisons by early readers to The Bridges of Madison County were made. This is a much more sophisticated book, however, even if it draws some of the same morals about big-city angst and rustic simplicity. By far the best things are the scenes of horse-healing, which are genuinely fresh, surprising and seemingly authoritative. It is perhaps a reflection on the rest that Pilgrim's recovery is more affecting than the conventionally melodramatic resolutions for the human principals. But it will sell and sell. 600,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; Reader's Digest Condensed Books selection; movie rights to Robert Redford; simultaneous BDD audio; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Nicholas Evans studied law at Oxford University after serving in Africa with Voluntary Service Overseas. He then worked as a newspaper reporter, TV producer, and screenwriter before writing four bestselling novels. His first book, The Horse Whisperer was made into a movie directed by Robert Redford. He lives in Devon with his wife, singer/songwriter Charlotte Gordon Cumming.

Customer Reviews

A very well written novel and a great story.
jfallen
I skipped the sex scenes and think the main characters would have been a little better off if they had, too!
Hannah Fowler
This was the first book I have read in a long time that I could not put down.
eacton@versuslaw.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By LMB on November 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Unlike some other reviewers I wasn't expecting this book to be a great work of modern literature but rather a beautiful story that everyman could relate to with a bit of thought. I wasn't disappointed. Maybe the author was a screenwriter and maybe the sentimental story itself is set out to read like a movie plot unfolding, none of that, to my way of thinking, diminished the simple zen beauty of the authors prose which reflected the search for an inner calm in each of the main characters.
Others here have commented on the gore and adrenalin surging accident of Grace and the conveniently named Pilgrim and I from similar experiences found it traumatic - for the horse, but not for Grace herself because her story is really the means by which she and her mother find grace. Her mother Annie is forced to take stock of a life that she fears is not satisfying and which casts an effect on her child and her marriage.
If Tom, in a typical display of the western horseman, seems wooden through a lack of dialogue it is because he relates to the world through the horses he works with, espousing the simple wisdoms of a man who has learned to read what is subtle and unspoken. His loneliness is echoed in the souls of Pilgrim, Grace and Annie.
That Annie and Tom predictably fall in love and betray her marriage vows, in a different rendition of Graces relationship with Pilgrim, is not an issue. It is that only through the catalyst for change in Tom and the nature of his work with Pilgrim we find the key to the characters, that they too must sacrifice the instinct for self preservation to be remade with maturity.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Hannah Fowler on February 19, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was drawn to the story because the horse and the family needed healing on many levels. I wanted to know more about how the horse and teenager were rehabilitated. Tom Booker, a.k.a. the Horse Whisperer, was an appealing character because he was a very balanced person. It was his role to be the healer. He had his wounds, but used them intuitively to help others. The author portrayed him as a spiritual sort of guy. Suddenly, we are led to believe that he has an epiphany: He needs Annie! Unfortunately, their mutual desire was portrayed on a superficial level. Tom kept remembering her eyes, her smile, etc. This was teenage crush material; not at all in keeping with his stature or implied integrety. Furthermore, without giving the ending of the book away, Tom's final decision was totally unbelievable to me, considering the fact that he'd earned the teenage girl's trust. Just what she needed, more fodder for Post-Traumatic Stress disorder!

The book begins in a promising way, especially when Tom comes on the scene. However, the ending just didn't live up to my expectations. I skipped the sex scenes and think the main characters would have been a little better off if they had, too!
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. Halstead on September 24, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't normally write these reviews, but I feel a responsibility to other readers to warn them away from this book. If you don't want to know any details about the book, you have the option of not reading this review, but, if you want to know what you're letting yourself in for, read on. If you are a horse lover, I srongly advise against reading The Horse Whisperer. If you want a romantic love story, you should also look elsewhere. If you want insight into dealing with a trauma, so sorry, no luck here. The book opens with a graphic description of a violent accident involving a girl and her horse, which results in death. Though I found these scenes truly disturbing, I hoped the trip taken by the girl and her mother to find an expert who could help to heal the girl and her horse would prove redeeming somehow. Instead, the experience was muddled and pointless. The few instances involving the "whisperer" attempting to heal the horse from its trauma struck me as something that would further traumatize the poor animal. Nothing he does ever seems to break through and cause the horse any improvement. Additionally, the mother appears to have no purpose in the story except wandering aimlessly around the farm, occasionally cheating on her husband with this man, and becoming pregnant with his child. The book's focus then turns almost completely to this ill-advised affair which doesn't really have any chemistry to it. The man and the mother don't seem that attracted to each other, and evidently only end up together because the plot required it of them. During all this, the girl's psychological problems resulting from the accident are basically ignored.Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elana on June 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A powerful and wonderfully written book, "The Horse Whisperer" tells the tragic story of a girl who has been physically and emotionally wounded during a violent horseback riding accident. In addition, her horse, Pilgrim, is also hurt very badly. Annie Maclean, the girl's desperate mother, contacts Tom Booker, a horseman who is able to communicate with the animals that he works with. Soon after, Annie and her daughter Grace head out to Tom's ranch, with their mad horse in tow. As the story unfolds, Tom and Annie fall in love. However, will the girl (Grace) and her beloved horse ever recover? Find out for yourself by reading this amazing novel. I recommend "The Horse Whisperer" to anyone looking for a sensational read.
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