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An unstable world

Adapted from interviews with a trainer from Iowa, Scanlan’s novel is a disturbing portrait of violence and squalor behind the scenes at racing stables

3 June 2023

9:00 AM

3 June 2023

9:00 AM

Kick the Latch Kathryn Scanlan

Daunt Books, pp.196, 9.99

Kathryn Scanlan’s second novel Kick the Latch is adapted from the transcript of an interview with a family friend in her native Iowa. Its narrator, Sonia, looks back on her years as a racetrack hand in a series of vignettes. She recounts run-ins with violent men, a freak accident that put her in a coma, and interactions with assorted rural eccentrics, such as Bicycle Jenny, a notoriously pongy gardener who owns 70 chihuahuas, and Johnny Block, who keeps a pet crow and ‘some ferrets’.

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