Kick the Latch by Kathryn Scanlan

£9.99

‘This immediate, engrossing immersion in another life and world, so personally and passionately told, is compulsively readable.’ Lydia Davis

SKU: 9781914198250 Category:

Description

LONGLISTED FOR THE GORDON BURN PRIZE 2023/2024

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK AWARD 2023

A DAILY TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR

A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

A NEW STATESMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR

A New Yorker Book of the Year

About one woman’s fine, hard life at the racetrack, Kick the Latch – with its ruthless concision and artful mysteries – is lightning in a bottle

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.

‘Wonderful . . . an unforgettable, tough, direct voice, brilliantly captured . . . I’d never imagined I’d read and love a book about a mid-west horsetrainer.’ David Nicholls

‘Scanlan’s harsh, funny, beautifully sad novel is unlike any other I’ve read this year – and twice as good.’ Chris Power, Summer Reads, Sunday Times

‘Masterfully precise . . . Every sentence seems to pull behind it an invisible weight of information and emotion.’ Literary Review

‘Lean, tense . . . bursting with sheer life.’ Lucy Caldwell

‘Terrific . . . Kathryn Scanlan makes the mundane details of everyday life hum with electricity.’ 5 stars, Telegraph

‘Scanlan is a master of the compressed anecdote.’ i

‘Brimming with life.’ Observer

‘A series of taut, electrifying vignettes . . . by turns exultant and brutal.’ LA Review of Books

‘A triumph.’ Financial Times