Racing Time: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Liberation
Racing Time is a book of searing intensity shining a healing light into the wounds of loss. Most of all, it is a celebration of life-long friendships with three men--each outspoken, authentic, and a lover of the out-of-doors. In a period of nine months, Smithwick delivers the eulogies of these three who have been his nexus to the world of steeplechasing and Thoroughbred racing. Written to stand on its own, Racing Time is the third of a trilogy, following the memoirs Racing My Father and Flying Change. It continues with the vivid prose and sensory descriptions of the first two books, then takes a different path, delving deeply into the psyche of men, showing one man's love and respect for another, sometimes his anger and disappointment, and always his sense of loyalty and wonder. Smithwick takes the reader through the joy and excitement of shared youthful experiences, into the camaraderie of adulthood, and ends with the clap of a thundercloud calling on us all to live life to the fullest.
"The primary topic of Racing Time is not horses but rather male love. It is dedicated to the late Tom Voss, Racing Hall of Fame trainer. Tom, and Patrick’s challenge of accepting his mortality, stand at the centre of Racing Time. Teasing out the subtleties of their relationship, Smithwick ventures into contemplating the role of other men in his life as he makes his own progress as a man. "
"Racing Time arrives just as western culture is preoccupying itself with the quest to redefine masculinities, in all their plurality. The book is about male bonding—between friend and friend, between family members, between colours, between classes, between father and son, mentor and pupil. It goes beyond naming these bonds: it enters into the heart of them. To be fair, Smithwick also explores the love of man and wife, man and mother, man and daughter. He is full of love. Any novelist who created a character as original, as compelling as Speedy Kiniel—Smithwick’s ‘blind Tiresias’, inconvenient savant—would be hailed as a genius. Speedy Kiniel, the one-time stable groom, musician and boxer, approaches the late years of his life as obese, demanding, ungrateful—yet wise, deeply wise, endlessly wise. Speedy has healing hands, for the damaged legs of horses, for the bruised limbs of jockeys. He spreads that balm over the pain that makes its presence felt throughout this remarkable memoir. America, Patrick Smithwick might just have given you a modern masterpiece, if you have the eyes to see it. "
- Dr. Andrew Lemon, author of the three-volume History of Australian Thoroughbred Racing
"Racing Time tells the stories of four horsemen, their triumphs, adventures, horses, families, and most of all, the camaraderie of their lifelong friendships. Their lives are so vividly described that it seems as if the emotion, excitement, and exhilarating moments are unfolding in real time.
"What happens, however, when three of them pass away? How does the one that is left cope with the loss, honor their great bond, yet continue forward with life? Racing Time shows how you can integrate the pain of loss into the joy of the moment; how you can live with happy memories—not grieving ones—as the legacy of lost friends.
"Racing Time will make you laugh, will make you cry, and will leave you with the comfort of three little words . . . love never dies."
- Cynthia McGinness, owner and breeder of 2018 Maryland Broodmare of the Year Casual Kiss