To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
The Horse's Mouth Hardcover – June 6, 1984
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
From the Publisher
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Jimson is a thoroughly believable artist, who is in many ways a scoundrel but who also possesses a genuine creative gift. He reminds us of the great gap that often exists between the artists who create and the staid academics who later analyze their works. The book is a minor classic, and The New York Review of Books should be congratulated at restoring it to print, as it has with a number of other important, but out of print, novels. If you read this book, you will certainly want to go back and read the others in the trilogy, Herself Surprised and To Be a Pilgrim.
The novel is peopled with many picaresque Dickensian characters, besides, of course, Gulley Jimson himself. In addition to the aforementioned art critic and Nosey, there is his ex-wife who modelled for him years before, a woman bartender, a poor "philosopher-king" who loves to quote Spinoza, a wealthy and aristocratic old and somewhat gullible British couple who are Gulley's patrons, and many others. "The Horse's Mouth" is a wonderful novel of great heart. This is so in spite of (or maybe because of) the main character's perceived character flaws.
One of the many masterful touches Joyce Cary uses is to always have Gulley working on a significant painting. It gets you to root for Gulley to do something even bigger than his one famous painting, and it makes you sympathize with the real people who put up with artists. But Gulley can't win. He is painting The Fall and it gets used to patch the roof of his hovel. He's painting Lazarus at the Grave and he has to flee from a crash-pad turned sour. He's going to sell a sketch of The Bath and instead manages to murder his only love. He's painting The Creation and the city comes and knocks the wall down. It is beautiful. Cary frames the whole novel with various potential masterworks that Gulley is painting, and in each one you see how life gets in the way of art, and how random are the winds of fortune.
We read this book in my book club and we agreed that it was one of the best of the 20 or so we've so far read together. I'm curious about the other two in Cary's trilogy. This is very much a complete work in itself, but I understand from the introduction that as a series it's even more illuminating.
This NYRB edition is printed on quality paper that stays white for a long time (I got my copy used and it's still very nice). Which is great, because you'll probably want to keep this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I BOUGHT THIS COPY OF "THE HORSE'S MOUTH" AS A GIFT FOR MY HUSBAND. ONE OF HIS FAVORITE BOOKS, HIS PAPERBACK COPY FROM COLLEGE (HE'S 70 NOW!) DISAPPEARED IN RECENT YEARS. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Lise Plotkin
put simply: the character, (Gulley) genius. the writer(Cary) genius.Published 13 months ago by Alan Satz
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, simoultaneously amused, puzzled and fascinated by the wierd shenanigans of Gulley Jimson's life style; his irresponsible, at times reprehensible... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Miriam webber
You have to have the right sense of humor for this book but it is worth it. A classic that has stood the test of time.Published on February 7, 2014 by Thalia Johnson
Gully Jimson and Leopold Bloom are my two favorite fictional characters. Carey's book is about the love of life and how one man achieves it. Read morePublished on November 30, 2013 by John M. Callaway
This is an enjoyable book to read. Joyce Cary is a very good and descriptive writer.
I am an artist so I can identify with the description of the painter.