Dick Francis held a special place in my heart, because like many girls, I loved horses. I spent my summers riding, and firmly intended to become a jockey when I grew up. (Yes, I was 5'8 by fifth grade. No, no one disabused me of my dreams until they had already long been obviously ludicrous.)
Dick Francis novels are almost aggressively wholesome, and wholesome is not fashionable this decade. He plasters a happy face atop the deep human instinct for loneliness so well that I didn't recognize the fundamental isolation of his main characters until I was . . . well, too old, anyway. They are about entertainment, not gritty realism or deep psychological drama. But I'm not ashamed to admit that I still love them, and have a bookshelf full of them, and that I gasped in dismay when I learned that he had died.
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