Kick the Latch

About one woman’s fine, hard life at the racetrack, Kick the Latch–with its ruthless concision and artful mysteries–is lightning in a bottle

Kathryn Scanlan’s Kick the Latch vividly captures the arc of one woman’s life at the racetrack—the flat land and ramshackle backstretch; the bad feelings and friction; the winner’s circle and the racetrack bar; the fancy suits and fancy boots; and the “particular language” of “grooms, jockeys, trainers, racing secretaries, stewards, pony people, hotwalkers, everybody”—with economy and integrity.

Based on transcribed interviews with Sonia, a horse trainer, the novel investigates form and authenticity in a feat of synthesis reminiscent of Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony. As Scanlan puts it, “I wanted to preserve—amplify, exaggerate—Sonia’s idiosyncratic speech, her bluntness, her flair as a storyteller. I arrived at what you could call a composite portrait of a self.” Whittled down with a fiercely singular artistry, Kick the Latch bangs out of the starting gate and carries the reader on a careening joyride around the inside track.

Books: 
Kick the Latch By Kathryn Scanlan Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780811232005
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions - September 27th, 2022

About one woman’s fine, hard life at the racetrack, Kick the Latch–with its ruthless concision and artful mysteries–is lightning in a bottle