Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Coal Black Horse

Posted on

Coal Black Horse

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Robert Olmstead
publisher:
Algonquin Books
genre:
Fiction

We gave it a B+

In Robert Olmstead’s Coal Black Horse Robey is just 14 when his eccentric mom, prompted by a grisly premonition, dispatches him to recover his father from a Gettysburg battlefield. Naive but resourceful, Robey gallops off on an extraordinary black stallion that becomes his de facto protector (”The horse held possession of both his waking and sleeping mind”). The journey is arduous: He gets accused of spying for the South and witnesses a rape; a con artist steals his stud; and the landscape is destroyed beyond recognition. He can trust only the horse. In no-frills prose, Robert Olmstead deftly unspools Robey’s too-early loss of innocence and harrowing passage to manhood. B+

Comments