Book Group 24th May @ 7pm | Kathryn Scanlan | Kick the Latch
On 24th may we'll be talking about Kathryn Scanlan’s Kick the Latch, which 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.
Kathryn Scanlan is the author of The Dominant Animal and lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in NOON, Granta and Fence, and is forthcoming in The Paris Review. Her story ‘The Old Mill’ was selected by Michael Cunningham for the 2010 Iowa Review Fiction Prize. She has degrees in painting, writing, and English from the University of Iowa and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her debut novel, AUG 9—FOG, a literary adaptation of a found diary, was published by FSG in 2019.
Copies are available in store with 10% discount but please do register if attending the discussion so we can keep a track of numbers