We Need a Horse

Sheila Heti, illus. by Clare Rojas. McSweeney's McMullens, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-936365-40-1
In this subtle existential meditation, newcomer Heti imagines a dreamlike landscape in which big questions are gently asked, and just as gently answered. "What is the reason I was made a horse and not some other animal?" a horse asks a bright light that appears. "Because we needed another horse," is the reply. Humor lightens the proceedings—the horse befriends a sheep with a tennis racket tied around her middle—but the horse's search for meaning is at the center of Heti's message: everything in the world, whether animate or inanimate, has purpose, created to bring joy to someone or something else. When the horse lies down in the grass, the grass sings to him; when the horse walks in the darkness, the darkness says, "Thank you for accompanying me.... I am always nervous on this journey, and I hate to go alone." Rojas's animals, with their guarded expressions and stylized postures, have the static quality of folk art, yet the overall sensibility is fresh, even futuristic. The dust jacket, printed on luxuriously heavy paper, unfolds to reveal poster-sized reproductions of the book's artwork. All ages. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
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