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Download The Mare Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Mare Audiobook, by Mary Gaitskill Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Gaitskill Narrator: Kyla Garcia, Christa Lewis, Lloyd James, Nicol Zanzarella Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2015 ISBN: 9781504671576
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From the author of Veronica, a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction, comes Mary Gaitskill’s most poignant and powerful work yet: the story of a Dominican girl, the white woman who introduces her to riding, and the horse who changes everything for her.

Velveteen Vargas is an eleven-year-old from Brooklyn who is granted a summer vacation in the country, courtesy of the nonprofit Fresh Air Fund. Her host family is a couple in upstate New York: Ginger, a failed artist on the fringe of Alcoholics Anonymous, and Paul, an academic who wonders what it will mean to “make a difference” in such a contrived situation. Here we see the couple’s changing relationship with Velvet over the course of several years, as well as Velvet’s powerful encounter with the horses at the stable down the road, as Gaitskill weaves together Velvet’s vital inner-city community and the privileged country world of Ginger and Paul.

The timeless story of a girl and a horse is joined with the story of people from different races and socioeconomic backgrounds trying to meet one another honestly. It is a novel that is raw, striking, and completely original.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Remarkably tender, though thankfully not sentimental…A truthful meditation on the limits of birth and motherhood, surrogate motherhood, and mothering yourself.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Nearly every page of The Mare shimmers with exacting and sometimes hallucinatory observation.”

    New York Times

  • A raw, beautiful story about love and mutual delusion, in which the fierce erotics of mother love and romantic love and even horse fever are swirled together.”


  • “The juxtaposition of these women’s lives…is dramatic. It’s an education to see how different life looks filtered through the lens of privilege, race, and age.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Bracing in its rigorous truth seeking, subtle and capacious in its moral vision, Gaitskill’s work feels more real than real life.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A rich back-and-forth narrative that encompasses falling in love, growing up, and doing right in worlds of privilege and poverty.”

    BUST Guide

  • “National Book Award finalist Gaitskill takes a premise that could have been preachy, sentimental, or simplistic…and makes it candid and emotionally complex, spare, real, and deeply affecting. Gaitskill explores the complexities of love (mares, meres…) to bring us a novel that gallops along like a bracing bareback ride on a powerful Thoroughbred.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Four excellent narrators tell Velvet’s story through various points of view in alternating chapters. Each narrator perfectly defines the complexities of the character being portrayed, while showing different sides of Velvet…When Velvet’s abusive but loving mother makes a rare appearance, it’s memorable. At times, listeners will be wondering which character is telling the truth—and hoping that Velvet will make the right decisions in the end. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “In soaring language that well captures being ‘in the zone,’ whether it’s painting or riding, Gaitskill brings home her theme of the importance of honoring one’s gifts and the hard work of finding the best outlet for creative expression.”


  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for November 2015
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • An AudioFile Editors’ Pick
  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015
  • A 2015 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • One of the New Yorker’s Best Books of 2015
  • An NPR Best Book of 2015
  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick for 10 Characters You Won't Soon Forget
  • Longlisted for the 2017 Baileys’ Women’s Prize for Fiction 
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About the Author
Author Mary Gaitskill

Mary Gaitskill, a recipient of the 2018 Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, is the author of the novel Veronica, a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award and named one of the New York Times’ Ten Best Books of 2005. She has also written a short-story collection, and her stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories.

About the Narrators

Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) is the world’s largest publisher of children’s books, magazines, and apps, with over 700 million products sold each year. DPW consists of an extensive worldwide books and magazines licensing structure as well as vertically integrated publishing imprints, including Disney-Hyperion and Disney Press in the US and Disney Libri in Italy. DPW’s digital products include bestselling e-book titles and award-winning original apps. Disney English is DPW’s English language learning business, which includes learning centers in China and a worldwide retail-licensing program. Headquartered in Glendale, California, DPW publishes books, magazines, and digital products in 85 countries in 75 languages. For more information visit www.disneypublishing.com.

Christa Lewis, winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards, is a classically trained actress and a graduate of Boston University’s four-year conservatory training program. She has worked full time at the microphone since getting her start as a newsreader for an international news broadcaster and now narrates audiobooks full time.

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.

Nicol Zanzarella is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator and a theater and television actress. She has appeared in productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter’s Tale, Cousin Bette, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and many others. She is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York.