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Tess Gallagher's short story, "The Lover of Horses", deals with family issues spanning several generations, in which the man have been "lovers of horses" and gambling and alcohol, living life to its fullest but neglecting family responsibilities, and often destroy by their thrill seeking. The women have tended to hold the families together by being careful, responsible, and future oriented. The narrator, a daughter, must decide in favour of one side of her heritage.
The great-grandfather was rumoured to be a "horse-whisperer", one of a type of person only rumoured to exist, who could whisper to horses and be understood by them, thus having an almost mystical communion with a magical world of horses, far removed from the mundane, practical human world of mortgage payments and cooking and housekeeping their wives inhabit.
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