Author(s): Sam Mahon
THE YEAR OF THE HORSE is written as a letter: a letter of farwell. It also traces the year the author spent making a bronze sculpture. In essence, it's a story about finding a way to live one's life. Sam Mahon could be described as living the life of the selfish artist. The quintessential Renaissance man takes on a commission from a large corporation as a challenge: that challenge is to make a life-sized bronze of 'the Southern Man' and his horse. The subsequent conflicts implicit in their relationship are laid bare, while the sheer physical immensity of the project overwhelms. Yet Mahon remains committed. The process of making a bronze sculpture is artfully described as we from Mill, to foundry, to old railway workshops. We feel the weight, smell the fumes, cough the dust. We also become cronise with the few helpers along the way and enjoy their easy comraderie and irreverence. Sam's many friends call in, and trips to the river and mountains exhilirate. He flies his small plane for pleasure and we soar too with the sense of freedom and joy. The big concerns are mulled over: art, philosophy, art - and friendship. Mahon is a virtuoso writer - he's at once intimate, lyrical, surprising, and very funny; a master of understatement. His writing sings with an innate sense of rythmn and a rich feeling for drama. THE YEAR OF THE HORSE is a unique look at a 'year in the artist's life'. (Preceeding text taken from abstract) Trade Paperback
Winner of New Zealand Society of Authors Best First Book Awards: E.H. McCormick Award for Non Fiction 2003.
Sam Mahon is an artist and who lives in North Canterbury in a reconstructed flour mill. He is a painter, sculptor - mostly in bronze - and a printmaker: he's a superb draughtsman and builds everything from musical instruments to miniature rockets. His first book The Year of the Horse won the Best First Book Award in 2003. This was followed by the much acclaimed The Water Thieves in 2006. His most recent exhibition of portraits 'Talking Heads' was shown in Christchurch in 2007, at the COCA Gallery.