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A wonderfully written memoir by an acclaimed poet.

In a memoir as vivid and unpredictable as any novel we follow Roger Garfitt on his journey from stable boy to jazz dancer, from Oxford dandy to Sixties drop-out. We see him on horseback with the Riding Master to the Kings of Portugal and in a beatnik pad with Redmond O'Hanlon. We watch as he is introduced to David Bowie and realises that the wrong one has come as the rock star. We follow him back to the Norfolk village where as a small child he had glimpsed the world through his grandfather's eyes and we are inside his head as he gradually cuts loose from the real world, eventually being committed to a locked ward in a mental hospital.

Written with a poet's gift for language, The Horseman's Word is an account of what it is like to feel the world too acutely, to love too obsessively, to go right to the very edge and, miraculously, survive.


He's produced a memoir that deserves to put him on the wider literary map... Garfitt writes beautifully

James Walton, Daily Mail

Garfitt's eye for the telling details of character...evidence great skill and fine judgment, but it is when he recounts his descent into madness, that the full range of his narrative gifts emerges... Garfitt relates it so vividly that the reader enters into the madman's mind and sees the world from his point of view... A superb achievement

John Burnside, Guardian

His gentle, coaxing tour across the fervid climbs, lonely sloughs and frustrating plateaus of his early English years has a poetic delicacy of expression... Deeply affecting...The Horseman's Word is a searing act of personal confession


A pungently beautiful piece of writing... This is no nostalgia piece: Garfitt's rich, vivid reminiscences are alive to the hardship and petty injustices of the times and inextricably entwined with his own ponderous, impassioned attempts to discover and assert his own personality


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    November 15, 2012


    384 pages

    RRP $19.99

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  • EBook


    April 21, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    384 pages

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