THE GALLANT GRAY TROTTER by John T. Foster

THE GALLANT GRAY TROTTER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Foster's novel -- based on events in the life of a famous 19th-century Long Island trotter and subject of the song ""The Old Gray Mare"" -- is told with just a few small lapses entirely from Lady Suffolk's point of view. Fortunately, references to the mare's thoughts and feelings are kept to a minimum -- rather, it as if a recorder had been hidden in her ear to pick up on the doings of the fictitious humans who come and go in her life -- but Foster's approach does make for a lot of lengthy conversations and dramatic confrontations in stables and carts. The mistreated half-Indian nephew of Lady Suffolk's cruel first buyer loves the mare from the start, follows her to a livery stable whose owner, Culley, has decided to race her, and rides her in the climactic sulky race when a painful abscess in her leg pops with the starting gun, just in time for her to break the world's record. He emerges as the real protagonist despite his absence during Lady Suffolk's stretch as a meat-wagon horse. Culley's sententious quotes from Poor Richard and jaunts to and from the course to the tune of ""Tippecanoe and Tyler too"" help to fill in the background.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Dodd, Mead