You have to have an honest appraisal of the past or you can’t possibly understand where we are and where we need to get to.
As a budding journalist in Sydney, Australia, Geraldine Brooks was assigned to the horse racing beat in the sports department, with no experience or knowledge of the subject. She went to every single horse race in the city and reported on the results in great detail. It wasn’t until her 50s that she actually became personally interested in horses, and returned to the subject in her latest historical fiction novel, “Horse.” The book’s main subject is Lexington, the greatest race horse in American history, and the horse’s Black and enslaved groom, Jarret. The two navigate the injustices of the years just before the Civil War, as they travel the country winning races. Brooks weaves Lexington and Jarret’s stories in with characters living through other eras of American history, including the present day, illustrating the evolution and persistence of racism. In the last conversation of the 2023 Winter Words season from Aspen Words, Washington Post book critic Ron Charles interviews Brooks about what inspired “Horse” and led her from journalism to historical fiction.