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Velveteen Vargas is an 11-year-old from Brooklyn who is granted a summer vacation in the country, courtesy of the nonprofit Fresh Air Fund. Her host family is a couple in upstate New York: Ginger, a failed artist on the fringe of Alcoholics Anonymous; and Paul, an academic who wonders what it will mean to "make a difference" in such a contrived situation. Here we see the couple's changing relationship with Velvet over the course of several years as well as Velvet's powerful encounter with the horses at the stable down the road, as Gaitskill weaves together Velvet's vital inner-city community and the privileged country world of Ginger and Paul.
The timeless story of a girl and a horse is joined with the story of people from different races and socioeconomic backgrounds trying to meet one another honestly. It is a novel that is raw, striking, and completely original.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By robert on 03-16-16
Horse people should enjoy this.
The horse /human relationships are accurate. Interesting comparison of 2 different worlds and the power of the equine bond. Very well written, but I'm extremely disappointed in the ending.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful
By Mark on 01-06-16
This novel is about a "fresh air" 12 year old city girl, Velvet, who spends two weeks in the country with Ginger and her husband. She falls in love with the horses at the nearby stables. It is a first person narrative, with different narrators each chapter. The start of the novel was very good, but each hour I listened made me less interested. Halfway through (8 hours into this), I just stopped caring and quit. For one thing, very little happened. A slow moving story can be good, but only if the characters are great. I liked the girl, Velvet (good character and great narrator), but none of the adults really came alive to me. Ginger, the main adult, just became less and less believable and less interesting. If it were not such a long book, I might have stayed with it. I also wanted more with the horses.
50 of 54 people found this review helpful