The Mare

Mary Gaitskill, 2015

Don’t miss this poignant, coming-of-age novel that illuminates the complex issues of parenting and transformative love.  The Fresh Air program brings 11-year-old Velveteen Vargas from hardscrabble Brooklyn to the horse country of upstate New York.  Her “summer parents” are Paul and Ginger, a childless couple with some unresolved marital issues. Told from the perspective of Ginger, Paul, Velvet and her mother, Mrs. Vargas, the novel traces the relationship between the surrogate parents and the teenager over several years.  Finding a true passion for horses and riding, Velvet discovers some truths about herself as she confronts her mother’s abusive behavior. Gaitskill manages to convey the complications of parental and marital love without becoming mawkish and sentimental.

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