A novel about a boy and a horse, that successfully turns the plot of a thousand children's books into a succinct and moving adult novel. Mark Wonnacott's father runs a failing farm on England's west moors; his mother once a town girl, wants him to get an education and escape. But Mark fails his exams and rescues an old race horse from a wandering life on the moors. Father and son work hard to support the mare, who dies, but leaves them a colt named Question Mark. The colt becomes a center of interest for Laura, the aimless local rich girl, and for all the town's skilled old horsemen whose lives have been dated by modern times. Laura, old Nathan and Mark train the horse together. Question Mark wins and loses many local races and becomes the town idol, and the Wonnacotts attain wealth. But success is an equivocal good, altering the Wonnacotts, and Laura who now feels that Mark no longer needs her, is about to marry elsewhere. In the last stirring section, Question Mark in the Grand National, and the horse who has changed the luck and hopes of many people, hurdles the stupendous fences like Hope itself--- and, as if borne down under the weight, breaks his back over the last. A simply told story with many complexities neatly tucked into its nice descriptions of farm and village life, and thoroughly satisfying on all counts.
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