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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
What young girl hasn't dreamed of owning a horse and bringing home a blue ribbon? In Kyle's achingly compelling first novel, this childhood fantasy is turned on its ear.
Eleven-year-old Alice Winston lives on a run-down horse farm in Desert Valley, Colorado, with a bedridden mother and a frustrated father, who stubbornly believes he can bring the farm back to its former glory. His ambition rests on Sheila Altman, a wealthy girl with scant riding ability whose mother forks over large sums for a horse and lessons to indulge her daughter's whim. When Alice is invited to participate in her father's scheme to win more money from the Altmans, the story moves inevitably toward tragedy.
A gifted and evocative writer, Kyle creates a rich setting in which even the barns and fences seem to speak of loss and pain; the saddles and spurs intended to inspire confidence seem mere contrivances. The harsh methods employed by Alice's father to break unruly horses mirror Alice's own family life, and the constraints that have damaged each member of her family. A novel that will stay with readers long after they've turned the last page, The God of Animals reminds us that the lessons we learn in childhood will affect us for the rest of our lives. (Summer 2007 Selection)