Kick the Latch (Paperback)Kathryn Scanlan (author)
Narrated through transcribed interviews with a horse trainer, this pithy and boldly original novel explores life at and around the racetrack through one woman’s distinctive voice.
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2023
Shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize 2023/24
Kathryn Scanlan’s Kick the Latch vividly captures the arc of one woman’s life at the racetrack – the flat land and ramshackle backstretch; the bad feelings and friction; the winner’s circle and the racetrack bar; the fancy suits and fancy boots; and the ‘particular language’ of ‘grooms, jockeys, trainers, racing secretaries, stewards, pony people, hotwalkers, everybody’ – with economy and integrity.
Based on transcribed interviews with Sonia, a horse trainer, the novel investigates form and authenticity in a feat of synthesis reminiscent of Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony. As Scanlan puts it,
‘I wanted to preserve – amplify, exaggerate – Sonia’s idiosyncratic speech, her bluntness, her flair as a storyteller. I arrived at what you could call a composite portrait of a self.’
Whittled down with a fiercely singular artistry, Kick the Latch bangs out of the starting gate and carries the reader on a careening joyride around the inside track.
Publisher: Daunt Books
Number of pages: 96
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“Brazen, brutal, brilliant”
On its surface, ‘Kick the Latch’ offers an honest and captivating story of a life spent at the racetrack, but underneath its unique setting, the book reveals itself to be a poignant meditation on authenticity and... More
“A stark and unflinching semi-fiction”
Scanlan's novel, closely based on the recounting of a family friend of her life as a horse trainer, is far outside my usual interests, but Daunt Books, the publisher, sent me a copy to review, so I read it, and... More
“Hard life in country..”
I loved this slim book of transcribed reminisces and reflections of a woman's life at the racetrack. Hard, harsh and at times, violent, not a word is wasted in Kick the Latch.
It's a beautifully designed... More
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