Rough Magic: Riding the World's Loneliest Horse Race (Paperback)
In this season of strong, brave women, Maureen's absolute favorite memoir - Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer - is not to be missed. It's about Lara's naiveté in trying to win the grueling, soul-wrenching World's Loneliest Horse Race in Mongolia, with nary a thought of preparation. This is for fans of Cherly Strayand's Wild and MacDonald's H is for Hawk and is writing at it's finest!
— From Staff Picks by Maureen
May 2019 Indie Next List
“Lara Prior-Palmer’s journey in the Mongol Derby is one of excitement, pain, and profound inner dialogue. There was not a moment in this fast-paced memoir where my attention wavered. Prior-Palmer weaves a coming-of-age tale with expert grace and worldly knowledge alongside an intensely riveting competition against herself and the land. Rough Magic is a fantastically written and introspective memoir worthy of great praise.”
— Travis McGuire, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO
"Taking off on a horse into the Mongolian Steppe sounds like the bracing inverse to an overpopulated, busy urban life, but having the skills and grit to pull it off is another thing entirely. . . . Lara Prior-Palmer attempted the Mongol Derby not really knowing what she was getting into; she ended it knowing much more about herself, and a race champion besides." ―Estelle Tang, Elle
At the age of nineteen, Lara Prior-Palmer discovered a website devoted to "the world's longest, toughest horse race"―an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of twenty-five wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. On a whim, she decided to enter the race. As she boarded a plane to East Asia, she was utterly unprepared for what awaited her.
Riders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby, a course that re-creates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan. Many fail to finish. Prior-Palmer had no formal training. She was driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses. She raced for ten days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she decided she had nothing to lose. Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse, scrambling up mountains, swimming through rivers, crossing woodlands and wetlands, arid dunes and open steppe, as American television crews chased her in their jeeps.
Told with terrific suspense and style, in a voice full of poetry and soul, Rough Magic captures the extraordinary story of one young woman who forged ahead, against all odds, to become the first female winner of this breathtaking race.
"Think the next Educated or Wild. Palmer's memoir of beating the odds to become a horse champion is an inspiring saga of perseverance--and a classic underdog tale." --Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
Lara Prior-Palmer was born in London in 1994. She studied conceptual history and Persian at Stanford University. In 2013, she competed in the 1,000-kilometer Mongol Derby in Mongolia, sometimes described as the world's toughest and longest horse race, and became the first woman to win the race, and the youngest person ever to finish. Rough Magic is her first book.
Okay folks, get ready for one of the MOST PERFECT GRAPHIC NOVELS EVER. This book felt like such a gift when I read it. Our main character Snapdragon stumbles into what she believes is the lair of the local evil witch-- turns out the local witch is a fantastically chill, cool, older lady named Jacks who ends up taking Snapdragon on as her apprentice. Together they discover friendship, learn amazing new kinds of magic, and uncover age-old love stories that may yet be fulfilled. The diverse representation in this book is SO stellar, and honestly this book brings me to joyful tears every time! Snapdragon is also a great example of the power of the graphic novel storytelling format--what a stunning piece of work!
(Graphic Novel, Ages 9+) - reviewed by Isabel