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The Lover of Horses is an anthology by Tess Gallagher; the title story is about a woman whose father's unstable mental state causes trouble and her own slow breakdown.
During the story, the narrator's father is overcome with a compulsion to gamble. Unusually for a man who has little control over his impulses, he is winning instead of losing; he becomes first obsessed with his winning streak and then only obsessed with the act of gambling itself, with winning no longer a concern. However, he continues to win and the narrator brings him soup and beer to keep his health up and his morale high. His streak continues and the narrator is happy for him, but sees his deteriorating health and mental state as the gambling continues over several days; when the game finally closes, the other gamblers disgusted with the father's winning, he becomes drunk and she is the one to bring him home. Her connection with her father causes her to decide that she is meant to share his fate in debauchery.
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