The Horse Whisperer

The Horse Whisperer

by Nicholas Evans

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A compelling portrait of three people who love each other but can't break through the self-created walls that keep them apart.”—Chicago Sun-Times

His name is Tom Booker. His voice can calm wild horses, his touch can heal broken spirits. And Annie Graves has traveled across a continent to the Booker ranch in Montana, desperate to heal her injured daughter, the girl’s savage horse, and her own wounded heart. She comes for hope. She comes for her child. And beneath the wide Montana sky, she comes to him for what no one else can give her: a reason to believe.

Praise for The Horse Whisperer

“Compelling . . . a real page-turner.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Fascinating . . . moving . . . a big, engrossing book [with] an unexpected endeing that surprises mightily.”Los Angeles Times

“Brilliance pervades this five-hankerchief weepie.”The Times (London)

“Outstanding . . . a book of rare power and beauty.”Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345528605
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/27/2011
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 63,619
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Nicholas Evans studied law at Oxford University after serving in Africa with the Voluntary Service Overseas. He then studied journalism and worked as a newspaper reporter, television producer, and screenwriter before writing four bestselling novels. The Horse Whisperer, his first book, was made into a celebrated movie directed by Robert Redford. He lives in Devon with his wife, singer/songwriter Charlotte Gordon Cumming.

Read an Excerpt

THERE WAS DEATH AT ITS BEGINNING AS THERE WOULD BE death again at its end. Though whether it was some fleeting shadow of this that passed across the girl’s dreams and woke her on that least likely of mornings she would never know. All she knew, when she opened her eyes, was that the world was somehow altered.
The red glow of her alarm showed it was yet a halfhour till the time she had set it to wake her and she lay quite still, not lifting her head, trying to configure the change. It was dark but not as dark as it should be. Across the bedroom, she could clearly make out the dull glint of her riding trophies on cluttered shelves and above them the looming faces of rock stars she had once thought she should care about. She listened. The silence that filled the house was different too, expectant, like the pause between the intake of breath and the uttering of words. Soon there would be the muted roar of the furnace coming alive in the basement and the old farmhouse floorboards would start their ritual creaking complaint. She slipped out from the bedclothes and went to the window.
There was snow. The first fall of winter. And from the laterals of the fence up by the pond she could tell there must be almost a foot of it. With no deflecting wind, it was perfect and driftless, heaped in comical proportion on the branches of the six small cherry trees her father had planted last year. A single star shone in a wedge of deep blue above the woods. The girl looked down and saw a lace of frost had formed on the lower part of the window and she placed a finger on it, melting a small hole. She shivered, not from the cold, but from the thrill that this transformed world was for the moment entirely hers. And she turned and hurried to get dressed.
Grace Maclean had come up from New York City the night before with her father, just the two of them. She always enjoyed the trip, two and a half hours on the Taconic State Parkway, cocooned together in the long Mercedes, listening to tapes and chatting easily about school or some new case he was working on. She liked to hear him talk as he drove, liked having him to herself, seeing him slowly unwind in his studiously weekend clothes. Her mother, as usual, had some dinner or function or something and would be catching the train to Hudson this morning, which she preferred to do anyway. The Friday-night crawl of traffic invariably made her crabby and impatient and she would compensate by taking charge, telling Robert, Grace’s father, to slow down or speed up or take some devious route to avoid delays. He never bothered to argue, just did as he was told, though sometimes he would sigh or give Grace, relegated to the backseat, a wry glance in the mirror. Her parents’ relationship had long been a mystery to her, a complicated world where dominance and compliance were never quite what they seemed. Rather than get involved, Grace would simply retreat into the sanctuary of her Walkman.
On the train her mother would work for the entire journey, undistracted and undistractable. Accompanying her once recently, Grace had watched her and marveled that she never even looked out of the window except perhaps in a glazed, unseeing scan when some big-shot writer or one of her more eager assistant editors called on the cellular phone.
The light on the landing outside Grace’s room was still on. She tiptoed in her socks past the half-open door of her parents’ bedroom and paused. She could hear the ticking of the wall clock in the hall below and now the reassuring, soft snoring of her father. She came down the stairs into the hall, its azure walls and ceiling already aglow from the reflection of snow through undraped windows. In the kitchen, she drank a glass of milk in one long tilt and ate a chocolate-chip cookie as she scribbled a note for her father on the pad by the phone. Gone riding. Back around 10. Luv, G.
She took another cookie and ate it on the move as she went through to the passageway by the back door where they left coats and muddy boots. She put on her fleece jacket and hopped elegantly, holding the cookie in her mouth, as she pulled on her riding boots. She zipped her jacket to the neck, put on her gloves and took her riding hat down off the shelf, wondering briefly if she should phone Judith to check if she still wanted to ride now that it had snowed. But there was no need. Judith would be just as excited as she was. As Grace opened the door to step out into the freezing air, she heard the furnace come to life down in the basement.
Wayne P. Tanner looked gloomily over the rim of his coffee cup at the rows of snowcrusted trucks parked outside the diner. He hated the snow but, more than that, he hated being caught out. And in the space of just a few hours it had happened twice.
Those New York state troopers had enjoyed every minute of it, smug Yankee bastards. He had seen them slide up behind him and hang there on his tail for a couple of miles, knowing damn well he’d seen them and enjoying it. Then the lights coming on, telling him to pull over and the smartass, no more than a kid, swaggering up alongside in his Stetson like some goddamn movie cop.
He’d asked for the daily logbook and Wayne found it, handed it down and watched as the kid read it.
“Atlanta huh?” he Said, flipping the pages.
“Yes sir,” Wayne replied. “And it’s one helluva lot warmer down there, I can tell you.” The tone usually worked with cops, respectful but fraternal, implying some working kinship of the road. But the kid didn’t look up.
“Uh-huh. You know that radar detector you’ve got there is illegal, don’t you?”
Wayne glanced at the little black box bolted to the dash and wondered for a moment whether to play all innocent. In New York fuzz-busters were only illegal for trucks over eighteen thousand pounds. He was packing about three or four times that. Pleading ignorance, he reckoned, might just make the little bastard meaner still. He turned back with a mock-guilty grin but it was wasted because the kid still didn’t look at him. “Don’t you?” he said again.
“Yeah, well. I guess.”
The kid shut the logbook and handed it back up to him, at last meeting his eyes. “Okay,” he said. “Now let’s see the other one.”
“I’m sorry?”
“The other logbook. The real one. This one here’s for the fairies.” Something turned over in Wayne’s stomach.
For fifteen years, like thousands of other truck drivers, he’d kept two logs, one telling the truth about driving times, mileage, rest-overs and all and the other, fabricated specially for situations like this, showing he’d stuck by all the legal limits. And in all that time, pulled over God knows how many dozens of times, coast to coast, never had any cop done this. Shit, damn near every trucker he knew kept a phony log, they called them comic books, it was a joke. If you were on your own and no partner to take shifts, how the hell were you supposed to meet deadlines? How the hell were you supposed to make a goddamn living? Jesus. The companies all knew about it, they just turned a blind eye.
He had tried spinning it out awhile, playing hurt, even showing a little outrage, but he knew it was no good. The kid’s partner, a big bull-necked guy with a smirk on his face, got out of the patrol car, not wanting to miss out on the fun, and they told him to get down from the cab while they searched it. Seeing they meant to pull the place apart, he decided to come clean, fished the book out from its hiding place under the bunk and gave it to them. It showed he had driven over nine hundred miles in twenty-four hours with only one stop and even that was for only half the eight hours required by law.
So now he was looking at a thousand-, maybe thirteen-hundred-dollar fine, more if they got him for the goddamn radar detector. He might even lose his commercial driver’s license. The troopers gave him a fistful of paper and escorted him to this truck stop, warning him he’d better not even think of setting out again till morning.
He waited for them to go, then walked over to the gas station and bought a stale turkey sandwich and a six-pack. He spent the night in the bunk at the back of the cab. It was spacious and comfortable enough and he felt a little better after a couple of beers, but he still spent most of the night worrying. And then he woke up to see the snow and discovered he’d been caught out again.

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The Horse Whisperer 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 148 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gish i noticed the curse words too! But i just ignored them cause im used to it. This book does get a little gross at times but other than that i thought this book was really great. I thinl the author did a great job in discribing, i could really picture the stuff in my head. I HIGHLY RECEMEND THIS BOOK?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I only got the sample of this book, but right away I noticed this book has a LOT of curse words. I'm a high school student, so I hear them all the time, but I prefer not to have to read five in one sentence of my book, especially when they are not even neccessary. I noticed the other reviews didn't say anything about it, so if you're younger or don't like curse words, I wouldn't read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story kept my interest the entire time. The characters were developed so that you can feel there emotions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is called The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. It¿s about a girl, her horse, an accident and the recovery. The girl is Grace and her horse¿s name is Pilgrim. One morning after snow has just fallen, she and her friend go on a trail ride. While out, her friends horse slips down a slope and crashes into Grace, all four of them falling into the road. A truck coming down the road tries to stop but can¿t in time. Grace¿s friend and her friend¿s horse both die in the accident. Grace lives, is in a coma for awhile and has to get part of her leg cut off. Pilgrim is almost put down but Annie, Grace¿s mom won¿t let them. His wounds eventually heal but he is emotionally scarred. Grace has recovered enough to go home by Christmas. Pilgrim is also moved back to his stable, but lashes out at anyone who tries to go near him. He lives in a stall that is never cleaned out and they shove food and water through a small opening in the bottom of the door. Annie calls a trainer to come and see Pilgrim and help him. The trainer, Tom is disgusted with what he sees, the horse¿s living condition and the way the barn is run. He goes away without helping. He is supposedly the best and Annie is to stubborn to let him just say ¿no.¿ She drives out to Montana from New York, with the horse and her daughter Grace. Grace didn¿t want to go and wanted the horse to be sold. They come unannounced and this time Tom is forced to look at the horse. In the end he decides to help, but now it¿s more than just the horse¿s problem. Annie and Grace are having problems too. Read the book to find out how everything works out. The book was so exciting to read. There was something happening all the time. Annie was yelling at someone, Grace was having trouble with her leg or Tom was working with a horse. I definitely felt like I was in the book because I could understand just about everything that was going on. The main conflict, which was getting Pilgrim better did interest me. I wanted to know if Tom could fix him. The character¿s were very realistic. They were very normal and didn¿t have anything very odd about them or any special powers that made them not so real. The books ending was pretty satisfying although there was one part that was disappointing. I won¿t give it away but it had to do with Tom and I thought it almost ruined the story because it seemed so unreal. The author wrote the book in third person. Sometimes the author gave a characters thoughts or opinions on what was happening in the story. There weren¿t too many hard words in the story and I could understand everything that was going on, but there were a few tough words that I didn¿t know. There wasn¿t anything really unique about the author¿s writing. It was basically the same as other authors. The author used a lot of dialogue but not so much description. There was a lot of tone, when Annie got mad, when Grace was happy and when people were relieved. I would give this book a nine out of ten. It was a great book but there was one part that kinda ruined it for me and didn¿t make sense. I would recommend this book to people fourteen and up. Probably girls and people who want to read a book about a family having a hard time together and a horse who has been through a lot.
Audacity88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It succeeds as what it is meant to be - comfortable - by being predictable enough to soothe but dramatic enough not to bore. Since it requires no engagement of the critical faculty, this is a good book to read through all in one sitting. Just don't expect the pleasure to stay on once the last page has been turned.
aimless22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first chapter grabs tight and does not let go! Adventure, romance, coming of age all congregate in this wonderful novel by a gifted writer.
sarah-p on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this book is just breath taking, i could'nt put it down, i read this after the movie but it so much better and the ending much more dramatic then the film, this was the first Nicholas Evans book i read but he's an amazing author,
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was like a splendidly written Mills and Boon. Feisty woman meets slightly-too-good-to-be-true love interest. There was the added complication of a husband (who was a really nice guy and frankly deserved better), and also a storyline involving an injured child and an injured and traumatised horse. The writing was top notch, characters sketched with skill and confidence, and I also liked the totally superfluous gag about the girls on the subway discussing the meaning of dreams.The scene where the horse's treatment reaches its conclusion was curious. Less whispering, more bashing with blunt instruments, and it left a funny taste in my mouth. But I know nothing about horses.
co_coyote on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this in the beach house, and it was a welcome relief from the Fire Ant encyclopedia-like book I am currently reading. I remember the movie being excellent, and the book is every bit as good. I know I am saying this after the fact, but could anyone else possibly play Tom Booker *except* Robert Redford!? I think this book was written with the movie in mind.
nocturnewytche on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a horse lover hands down. I could not wrap my mind around why people love this book so much. I did enjoy it, but as the time goes in in the book it seems to become less and less about the horse and more about the people. The book started out so well but I feel it was just dropped after the first few chapters and steadily declined to downright boring from there. Not something I'd read again.
librisissimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Substance: Starts out OK, if traumatically; proceeds predictably for contemporary fiction (foul language, graphic sex); ends abominably by betraying every principle of integrity imaginable.Style: Evans indulges in frequent, annoying, and unnecessary back-stitching instead of proceeding in straightforward fashion. Descriptions of the West, ranching, horses, and the people are well-done, but I really disliked his adherence to modern "standards" requiring angst and ego disguised as psychological liberation.Read a non-fiction book about the real thing instead; you'll be better off
mrsrjd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I listened to the audio version of "The Horse Whisperer" by Nicholas Evans. I have not seen the movie and wasn't particularly interested in the book but my library has a limited amount of books on cassette so I met Annie, her daughter Grace, husband Robert, the whispering Tom Booker and of course the whispered-to, horse Pilgrim. By the end of the book I was sorry they had made my acquaintance.My issue is not so much with Evans' writing ability as it is his stereotypical treatment of men and women. Indeed, the opening scenes of accident and trauma made me think I had the wrong impression of the story. But, it was all down hill from there. It turned out that Annie and Grace were victims of "my mother works" syndrome. It took removal from the big city and entry into the "aw shucks ma'am" country to bring them fulfillment. The addition of a handsome cowboy in the form of Tom Booker certainly didn't hurt either.Evans allowed Annie to cry more than once in her journey to fulfillment - despite Annie's criticism of Robert's tears over their daughter's accident. Frankly, I wanted Annie to cry a lot more than she did, and I definitely didn't want her fulfilled. Annie was the main character in the story and I didn't like her at all. She was greedy, manipulative and selfish. Her awfulness might have been tolerable if she had been made to pay it. But Evans extracted no payment at all. Instead, she got everything she wanted. This result made me say "Ugh!" and rejoice when the final cassette was finished.
BackyardHorse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a life long horse person I found the book far more interesting, and believable than the movie adaption. If you are looking for a light entertaining read keep looking. Evens masterfully displays the terror of a horrific opening scene, and the long painful road back for a young girl and her horse.
Fliss88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A broken girl, a broken horse. A mother that is prepared to give up her job, give up everything to see them both healed. All three travel to Montana, to meet a man with the ability to whisper with horses, and all three find themselves healed in ways that none of them expected. This is a beautiful book that will have you 'in' by the end of the first chapter, if not before.
aapjebaapje on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My mother-in-law lent me this wook. I wish I hadn't seen part of the fild - I'd love to see it now I've read the book but it rather spoilt the unfolding of the story. This was an excellent read and I'd recommend it strongly. I can see why it was a Number 1 bestseller.
FionaCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I enjoyed the movie much more than the book. The book was good up until the end; I think the ending in the film is much better than the lame one in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt put this down excellent book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is dazzlingly amazing. The power of remaining positive it gives is goig to stay with you forever. Incredible
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sure! Im Pheonix. A black stallion