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In The Horse (2024), Willy explores loneliness, art, regret, and hard-won empathy in this poignant novel—his most personal to date—that captures the life of a journeyman musician unable to escape the tragedies of his past. It is the story of Al Ward, who lives on an isolated mining claim in the high desert of central Nevada fifty miles from the nearest town. A grizzled man in his sixties, he survives on canned soup, instant coffee, and memories of his ex-wife, friends and family he’s lost, and his life as a touring musician. Hampered by insomnia, bouts of anxiety, and a chronic lethargy that keeps him from moving back to town, Al finds himself teetering on the edge of madness and running out of reasons to go on—until a horse arrives on his doorstep: nameless, blind, and utterly helpless.

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“There is something quietly glorious about a novelist who identifies a furrow for their writing and then ploughs it diligently and skillfully from one novel to the next….briskly sketched…richly conjured….as succinct and wrenching as a well-honed folk song.”
The Guardian

“A moving tale of suffering and redemption, The Horse portrays the immense gravity of what it takes to be human in tough times, and the elusive grace that might just be grasped from music, animals, and memory.”
Geraldine Brooks

“I loved this novel so much, though it broke my heart again and again. No one anywhere writes with such power and such stark beauty about American desperation and want, American loneliness and heartache. We need Willy Vlautin like we needed Johnny Cash, like we needed Larry McMurtry—he’s essential and every book he writes proves it all over again."
Joe Hill

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