The Sureness of Horses

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The Sureness of Horses book cover.


"Kevin Arnold's new novel touches the raw places that are the material of our human lives. In The Sureness of Horses, Arnold moves us through the subtlety and texture of poetry, love, parenting, growing older, and yes, the uncertainty of our own sureness. It's a humble novel that speaks volumes."

- Persis Karim

Neda Nobari Chair of the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies

San Francisco State University

"In the purest, most empathetic narrative tones, Kevin Arnold charts the forking paths of a moral wilderness in a society of ambitions achieved, ambitions pursued, and ambitions thrwarted."

- Louis B. Jones

Fiction Co-director - Squaw Valley Community of Writers

Author of five prizewinning novels

"It's the rare novelist who can enhance a narrative - and move a reader - with the use of poems that amplify the story's arc. Arnold is one of those very fortunate writers."

- Julia Glass

Author of the National Book Award-winning Three Junes and a House Among the Trees

"(The Sureness of Horses) is a very honest tale of humanity at it’s finest and weakest and has a realistic plot which makes it a joy to read. I found this a very memorable story, a book I looked forward to picking up and getting lost in and one that will remain fondly in my memory."

- Jan Hughes

Reviewer - Everything Horse Magazine

"Lyrical, compelling, absolutely riveting. Arnold had me hooked from page one."

Sara Houghtelling

Fullbright Fellow

Winner of the 2016 Narrative Prize and author of the award-winning novel Pictures at an Exhibition

"Action-packed scenes ground Kevin's novel in a rich American tradition."

"I couldn't put the book down."

- Melinda K. Baxter

Master - MFHA

"I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This is a well-written and satisfying read. The story is rich with relatable characters and events. It is a refreshing love story, not a sweep-you-off-your-feet romance. The characters are flawed and deal with real-life problems. While equestrians and animal lovers would like Wade’s story, I recommend this book to fiction readers who enjoy a suspenseful page-turner. The Sureness of Horses is a story that reminds the reader that life can change, for better or worse, in the blink of an eye."

- Jess N Wheeler

Contributor - Online Book Club

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"I recommend this book to anyone who likes a romantic story...very well-written."

Bertha Jackson



I get a few whiffs of foreign sawdust
while I fondle an imitation Ming vase,
nearly-opaque with blue splotches.
It appears hurriedly hand-painted
with a lid that doesn’t quite seat.
I’m at an import store surrounded
by mugs stacked over my head and
dangling tables and baskets.


The sweet-pungent smell drags me not to
fifteenth-century China but
some quick-fingered assembly-line painter.
I feel I can see her now
working furiously at her task.
I probably have things she covets:
money and time to spend with my kids
in a discount East-West shop.
She talks to me says
It’s okay, it’s okay.

The Chinese Woman's Voice

Wine was already spilled on the pink tablecloth,
the two couples’ cheeks already flushed,
but she hadn’t noticed,
so when her husband split a shrimp cocktail with Bill’s wife,
she surprised herself by joining with Bill to split Carpaccio.

The raw beef came laid out like a flower,
deep red petals on bone plate.

Bill spread capers and minced onions wantonly,
and didn’t worry about seeds as he squeezed the lemon.

She could feel his hunger as he gathered the beef,
then, his fork still in his left hand,
took a large red chunk into his mouth;
from next to him she felt she could taste
onionpungent and lemonsour and capersalt—
despite herself she could taste them
merging on his tongue with the cool red flesh;

then in front of God and everybody in the nice restaurant,
in front of their shrimp-cocktail-eating spouses,
lifting her fork over the spilled wine,
she followed Bill’s brazen lead.



Other Works



Kevin Arnold

Photograph of autor Kevin Arnold.


A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the US Navy, Kevin Arnold has published fifty stories and poems. He earned his Master’s in Fine Arts from San Jose State University in 2007, the same year he helped found Gold Rush Writers. He has ridden to hounds since 1999, earning his colors with the Los Altos Hounds, also in 2007. He served as President of Poetry Center San Jose for twelve years. Kevin is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, USA. The San Francisco / Peninsula California Writer's Club recently named him Writer of the Year.

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