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Horse Heaven Audiobook

Horse Heaven

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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.

©2014 Jane Smiley (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (155 )
5 star
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Overall
4.0 (90 )
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Story
4.0 (90 )
5 star
 (48)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    D. Langtry Portland, OR USA 04-22-15
    D. Langtry Portland, OR USA 04-22-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Land of Horse"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I loved listening to this book and would definitely recommend it. It is a lively, entertaining, informative novel, read with great sensitivity by Shelly Thompson.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I especially loved the animal characters in the story: Eileen, the Jack Russell terrier, the thoroughbreds Justa Bob and Mr. T. and the other fillys. colts, geldings and stallions that populate this story. It was lovely to be immersed in the world of horses and in the characters of the owners, vets, trainers, jockeys, grooms and others that care for them.


    What about Shelley Thompson’s performance did you like?

    Contrary to other reviewers I found Shelly Thompson's interpretation of the characters sensitive and entertaining. She was able to sing an Irish lilt and bark like a terrier, assume the characters of men, of women, and horses. She had great range. Sure she mispronounced a few place names. But I find this no great sin, nor that unusual.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed out loud at this book, and found myself repeating portions of it to my friends over coffee. Jane Smiley is a great writer and she found a great reader for her novel.


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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel Kuranda, Australia 12-04-10
    Mel Kuranda, Australia 12-04-10
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    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John United States 11-30-06
    John United States 11-30-06 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Laurel S. Gord 10-12-17 Member Since 2017
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    "great book with great narration"

    because several other reviewers complained about the narration I want to start with my plaudits of it. it's true that the narrator mispronounced a couple of words but to me that was more than made up for by her nuanced reading. I love this book and had already read it twice when I decided to listen to it as an audio book. due to a chronic condition that makes my muscles weak and so hard to hold a book I've been listening to a lot of audiobook lately. this has been a difficult transition for me and I'm very picky about narration. I decided to give this a try despite the negative reviews and was amazed at the quality of the narration and at how much it added to my enjoyment of the occasional humor in the book. at one point one of the characters sings and the narrator beautiful sang. there are several Irish characters and it was pure pleasure to hear their voices through our narrator.

    please forgive the punctuation Oddities by the way. they're due to my having to dictate. as for the book, I started out reading it not knowing anything about horse racing and having no interest in it. that did not interfere with my enjoyment of the book in any way. this book has many Viewpoint characters and treats each of them with care and empathy. in doing so smiley delves deeply Into The Human Condition and human struggle and also into the connections between people and animals. one of the Viewpoint characters is a horse and smiley handle these sections in a way that doesn't feel at all smarmy or anthropomorphic. this most recent listening of the book in a difficult time in my life and I found it inspiring as well as entertaining and feel I'm a better person for having entered into this world. this really is one of my all-time favorite books and my husband loved it also.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 09-03-17
    09-03-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Wonderful"

    Even if you don't love horses, the individual vignettes of people--their hopes, dreams, good deeds and bad--are wonderfully engrossing and I loved how they all become intertwined in each other's lives. Great story about beautiful racehorses and the people who train, own, bet, ride and sometimes abuse them. I also loved the narrator, she really added a lot to the story and gave each character a lot of depth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Couch Matthews, North Carolina USA 11-18-16
    Paul Couch Matthews, North Carolina USA 11-18-16
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    "Wonderful book, full of heart."

    If you are a fan of thoroughbred horse racing (especially for you if it's all about the horse), then you will love this book. The author knows the sport and she obviously loves the horses (just ask "Just a Bob"). It was a fun, heartfelt read and I highly recommend it.
    Paul Couch, M.D.
    Winter Springs, Florida

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Maher Washington State 09-22-16
    R. Maher Washington State 09-22-16 Member Since 2009
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    "Love the book; narration pretty good..."

    Reader had some odd (Canadian?) pronunciation quirks that took me out of the story. She did Ok on most of the real-life racing names, but not all, and it was jarring every time.

    It's one of my all-time favorite books, though, so she's forgiven.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha 01-28-16
    Samantha 01-28-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Awesome book for horse lovers"
    What made the experience of listening to Horse Heaven the most enjoyable?

    Great story, really well read.


    What other book might you compare Horse Heaven to and why?

    -


    Which character – as performed by Shelley Thompson – was your favorite?

    Just a Bob


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not really


    Any additional comments?

    Love this story and keep re-listening to it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abgirl Canada 11-02-15
    Abgirl Canada 11-02-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved the book, got use to the narration"
    Any additional comments?

    I really love this book. I've listened to it several times. The narration doesn't bother me once I got into the book, but you really have to give the book a chance (at least a couple hours). The author really knows horses and people too. I found when I listened again a year later I enjoyed the book just as much as the first time, and quite possibly more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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