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Horse Heaven | [Jane Smiley]

Horse Heaven

Many astonishing and affecting things happen at the racetrack, and the mysterious universe of horse racing, passionate, cold-hearted, pure, corrupt, is woven into a marvelous tapestry of joy and love, chicanery, folly, greed, and reckless courage. Spanning two years on the circuit, from Kentucky and California to New York and Paris, Horse Heaven, puts us among trainers, nervey jockeys, billionaire breeders, and restless track wives.
Regular Price:$29.37
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Publisher's Summary

Many astonishing and affecting things happen at the racetrack, and the mysterious universe of horse racing, passionate, cold-hearted, pure, corrupt, is woven into a marvelous tapestry of joy and love, chicanery, folly, greed, and reckless courage. Spanning two years on the circuit, from Kentucky and California to New York and Paris, Horse Heaven, puts us among trainers, nervey jockeys, billionaire breeders, and restless track wives.

©2000 Jane Smiley; (P)2001 Chivers Audio Books

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (109 )
5 star
 (50)
4 star
 (22)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
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1 star
 (8)
Overall
3.8 (50 )
5 star
 (26)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.7 (50 )
5 star
 (21)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    John United States 11-30-06
    John United States 11-30-06 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    "justabook"

    if you listen you will realize justabook is high praise. I wish I could give it six stars. This is the most enjoyable listen of any of the books I have listened to (at least 20). I actually began to look forward to my commute so that I could hear more of the story (seriously). This is the only audiobook where I feel compelled to buy the hard cover. I want to keep it and savor it again. Don't be intimidated by the length, there are very few minutes that are not a delight. There are some things you want to last.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce 10-13-13
    Joyce 10-13-13 Member Since 2011

    Old Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
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    Story
    "Wonderful"

    A huge cast of characters including horses, a Jack Russell terrier named Eileen, and even a pig. Their must be at at least a twenty men, women and 2 precocious children, whose lives we follow and who are caught up in Jane Smiley's world of thoroughbred horse racing.

    The woman is a wonder. She writes of this world with a kind of love, even as she casts her eye and ours on the highly unnatural and often cruel fate that has been been bred into and eventually creating these glorious animals.

    I enjoyed it immensely and didn't want it to end. As the book neared its end I would relisten at random - didn't matter where - just to put off being goodbye to it. It's all good.

    Shelley Thompson does a fine job in wending her way through the myriad characters. Each character has his or her own voice .. including the animals. She reads with both passion and compassion. She is a fine reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margo Petersburg, TN, United States 08-19-12
    Margo Petersburg, TN, United States 08-19-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    Story
    "Horse Heaven"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, It's a tediously long stroy. I want the Reader's Digest Condensed version.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Too many characters introduced that are not mentioned other than their set up, which I consider a loss lead. Don't introduce me to someone that will go away and I really didn't care about any of them.... any of them.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Learn properly how to pronounce American words.


    Did Horse Heaven inspire you to do anything?

    Nope. Maybe not to bet on horses since there is so much crap going on.


    Any additional comments?

    Author needs to concentrate on, Who's stroy is it anyway? I still don't know. Eileen is the only character completely developed, and I liked when she was the focus.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C Chestnuthill, MA, United States 01-18-11
    C Chestnuthill, MA, United States 01-18-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "it's a scratch"

    I gave up listening an hour before the end. First of all it's way too long with too many characters. The characters themselves are mainly uninteresting and annoying and the part where she puts in a character who can "talk" to horses made me think of Mr Ed. The narrator, besides the fact that she didn't know how to pronounce some of the words, also got on my nerves. I liked the other books of hers that I read, but this one is a stinker.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 12-29-10
    Lisa 12-29-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "A whole lotta horse"

    It's a wonderful novel full of flawed character of human, equine and canine persuasion. It is very long however and without an expectation of a fulfilling ending you won't be disappointed. It just kind of fizzles out like a worn out candle. But no doubt about it, Smiley can write.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel Kuranda, Australia 12-04-10
    Mel Kuranda, Australia 12-04-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Don't let the preview put you off"

    The worst part of this audiobook is the preview - does not do this fantastic book justice! I was a big fan of the paperback version, read it religiously, and was so excited to see that it was an audiobook. When I listened to the preview, I was extremely disappointed - sounded flat and dull and monotonous. These qualities are in no way reflected by the actual narration or structure of the audiobook.

    Fast-paced and quirky, Horse Heaven draws together a collection of oddball characters and intertwines their stories with that of their beloved (or not) thoroughbreds. The narrator does a great job of dramatizing the dialogue, and keeping the listener entertained. Five stars - a must for horse lovers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha Yarramalong, NSW, Australia 01-25-10
    Samantha Yarramalong, NSW, Australia 01-25-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved this so much - but I'm a horse nut"

    I cannot tell you how this book influenced my life! An absolute sensational read. Love Shelly Thompson, love Just A Bob, what a fabulous book. Bless you Jane Smiley!!! I love horses, so I suppose why I love this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi Washington, DC, United States 08-30-09
    Heidi Washington, DC, United States 08-30-09 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    3
    Overall
    "Horse Heaven=Pure Heaven"

    Jane Smiley demonstrates her brilliance in this book, illustrating similarities between the horses and the people who own, breed, train, and race them. And Shelley Thompson is a truly engaging narrator. It was a great experience!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Beck Chester, MA 06-05-06
    Paula Beck Chester, MA 06-05-06 Member Since 2010

    baybay2

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Could Listen Forever"

    If you're a horse lover or racing fan, you will love this book! Jane Smiley really knows horses, and it shows. The cast of characters (both equine and human) is daunting, but fascinating. And the narrator, Shelley Thompson, is fantastic! This is on my Top Five list!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia League City, TX, United States 05-29-06
    Patricia League City, TX, United States 05-29-06 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
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    "Whimsical"

    Probably engrossing for someone who is into the world of horse racing or even horses. I found it jumped around a little too much. With no introduction to the characters, it could be confusing. Otherwise,it was entertaining and excellently narrarated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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