Horsing around Both the horses and the humans in Jane Smiley's delightful novel, Horse Heaven, have yearnings, problems, and distinctive personalities some appealing, some appalling and don't be surprised if you like some of the four-leggers better than the two. Most of the action takes place at the track where these large, elegant animals are trained and traded, adored, and abused by their owners and handlers. Amidst the herd of colorful characters, we get to know five horses, three trainers, a shady vet, a billionaire owner and his perfectly manicured and mannered, but not perfectly happy wife, a lusty animal communicator, who reads equine thoughts, and a small Jack Russell terrier who seems to read people's thoughts. Reader Mary Beth Hurt captures them all in her flawless, spirited performance. There's some romance, some adultery, some soul searching, and a happy ending this is, after all, heaven on the hoof.

Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.

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