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The Horse Whisperer Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1996

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 451 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440222656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440222651
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (701 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,031,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews 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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Screenwriter Evans's debut novel spent 38 weeks on PW's bestseller list.
Copyright 1996 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

This is a story about tragedy, healing, love and loss.
Sandra D. Peters
The horse is really the most interesting character, but he just falls into the background as the story moves on.
Amazon Customer
This was the first book I have read in a long time that I could not put down.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 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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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "cstew" on May 9, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After all the hype I thought this book would be a profound insight into the relationships between people and animals and other people. How disappointed I was when I got almost all the way through and discovered it was little more than a romance novel! Heaving bosoms and all...
I suppose without any hype I might call it an impressive first novel, but I found most of the relationships stereotypical and the ending totally inconsistent with what little character development there was.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm an avid reader and writer, so I know how difficult it is to create a novel. Even more so, I hate to give and receive criticism, but I thought that the Horse Whisperer was just awful. To summarize, the events were predictable and the characters were unoriginal and overdone.
After reading a few pages, I found myself interested in the novel. A young girl and her horse get into a violent accident...I found the writing to be moving. Then we are introduced to Annie, the young girl's tough but sensitive 90's mother, and the Horse Whisperer, and the only thing left whispering was me as I began to snore. The romance between the latter characters was, for Annie, the "I shouldn't, I'm married" and "I should, you magically speak to horses," to the Horse Whisperer's, "Okay, whatever you want, Annie." Yuck, yuck. I may have actually enjoyed the book if it had been more about or completely devoted to the recovery of the young girl and her horse.
One positive aspect of the book is the artwork on the cover, which attracted me to it in the first place. Other than that, I felt like I had wasted my money.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book because I love horses, I enjoy romances, and I was intrigued by the title (the best part of the book) and the beautiful cover. What a HUGE disappointment. Evans starts out with an interesting concept--that of a "horse whisperer" who can communicate with horses, and who can possibly help a young girl and her horse achieve emotional healing following a traumatic accident that has crippled them spiritually as well as physically. The initial scenes building up to the accident are rather well-written and grab your attention...then the book rapidly unravels and falls apart. I find it hard to understand why so many people are so enthralled with this book. The plot and dialogue are unbelievable to the point of being corny and laughable. The characters are also unbelievable and poorly (if at all) developed. Evans is the sort of author who thinks he can simply state that a character is such-and-such, and we will believe it without any illustration: he describes Annie as being absolutely brilliant, breezily skating through Oxford and her amazing career without effort, but nothing she says or does convinces us of her rapier-like intelligence. Apparently, constantly cursing at her employees constitutes brilliance. And the ending is absolute drivel. One of the worst books I have ever read, and I have read a lot
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