Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer. It’s an enchanting and wonderfully amusing memoir.
LARA PRIOR-PALMER was born in London in 1994. Her aunt is Lucinda Green, a legendary rider and one of the UK’s best-ever equestrians. Lara studied conceptual history and Persian at Stanford University. In 2013, she competed in the 1000-kilometer Mongol Derby in Mongolia, sometimes described as the world’s toughest and longest horse race. Rough Magic is her first book.
About the book
The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don’t make it to the finish line.
In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she found she had nothing to lose, and tore through the field with her motley crew of
horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race.
Told with terrific suspense and style, in a voice full of poetry and soul, Rough Magic’s the extraordinary story of one young woman’s encounter with oblivion, and herself.
Here’s the thing, there are horse people, people who appreciate they exist and the non-horse people. Whilst the author says she belongs in the middle category methinks she is probably deluding herself and is a horse person. Just ask the chestnut at the end. Vroom Vroom.
The author decides on a whim to take part in an extremely difficult horse race. Not just on one animal, but whichever animal is there and feels right at that point in the race, which makes the read all the funnier. By the way, who goes all the way to Mongolia to participate in something so gruelling without a change of clothes or underwear?
It is well-written, clearly Prior-Palmer is unaware of how good she is at expressing herself through the medium of words. Perhaps she is unaware of how unintentionally funny she is too. Leaving aside the fact the race through Mongolia must have been extremely difficult both physically and psychologically, Lara takes it in her stride and there is not much sign of it in this contemplative memoir.
Of course the author had the power of youth, a zest for adventure and an unmistakable need for something other than the norm, the status quo or just everyday life. Her naiveté and completely unprepared state when she takes part in the wildest horse race in the world, is what makes this story so charming.
Let me be clear I am in the non-horse group, despite raising avid equestrians. I thought this might be a book about a girl and her horse, it is everything but that. It’s all about a young woman who craves the unknown, the thrill and the challenge.
It’s an enchanting and wonderfully amusing memoir. Kudos to the author for the last sentence by the way. It’s the perfect way to end a fantastic story and it describes the essence of this story really well.