WINNER STANFORD TRAVEL WRITING AWARDS 2020 SHORTLISTED FOR THE
WILLIAM HILL PRIZE 2019 'Such an addictive and likeable book...One
of this year's best memoirs' The Telegraph 'It's the resistance to
the obvious narratives that makes Rough Magic so appealing: the
book undermines lazy women-in-the-wilderness tropes at every turn.'
Sarah Moss, Guardian 'A heroic tale beautifully told' TLS 'Rough
Magic is transporting, beguiling and terrifically entertaining'
Daily Mail The Mongol Derby is the world's toughest horse race. A
feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed
by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a
distance of 1000km. Many riders don't make it to the finish line.
In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer - nineteen, underprepared but seeking the
great unknown - decided to enter the race. Driven by her own
restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses, she
raced for seven 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 found she had nothing to lose,
and tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. In one
of the Derby's most unexpected results, she became the
youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race. A tale
of adventure, fortitude and poetry, Rough Magic is the
extraordinary story of one young woman's encounter with oblivion,
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Review This Product
Tue, 18 Jun 2019 | Review by: Breakaway R
Riding in the world’s wildest horse race.
Lara Prior-Palmer was bored! She had taken a job as an au-pair hoping to improve her German, but it hadn't; instead, it drove her to want an adventure. While scrolling through the internet, she came across the details of a horse race. A race called the Mongol Derby. Lara had no idea how she was going to get the entrance fee together nor whether she would be accepted, but through sheer determination, and using her very famous equestrian aunt, Lucinda Green as a reference, she was accepted.
Lara was not nearly as fit as she should have been at the beginning of this gruelling 1,000-kilometre race. She would ride twenty-five wild ponies who were far better treated than the competitors. The route that the race would follow was based on the “Pony Express” route Genghis Khan had created to get post delivered as quickly as possible in his Mongolian Kingdom.
I think you would have to be slightly crazy to take on this race. You would also have to have trained for months. Not just ensuring that your riding was up to scratch, but to also ensure that you were at the top of your fitness regime. Lara was certainly not fit, nor really ready for what lay ahead, but her determination and competitive spirit ensured that she not only succeeded in her quest but won the race, breaking records along the way.
It’s a very well written memoir. It's exciting, filled with beautiful flowing pieces of descriptive language giving us the reader, a chance to follow the race, the struggles she had and feel her interaction with the people she met. Her descriptions of the “gers” the homes of the Mongolian nomads, made me want to pack a bag and head for Mongolia so that I too could sleep in these beautiful homes. I want to see the extraordinary landscapes she describes in detail. More importantly, I want to meet and interact with these wonderful Mongolian families and perhaps even ride a pony but definitely not take part in the race.
Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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