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The Horse Boy

The Horse Boy: A Father’s Quest to Heal His Son

Rupert Isaacson

This is the story of an extraordinary adventure. But the ordinary qualities of love and courage that inspired it will resonate with parents everywhere.

When his son Rowan was diagnosed with autism Rupert Isaacson was devastated, fearing he would never be able to communicate with his child.

Then two things happened. Rowan made an unlikely connection with a group of visiting traditional healers; and Rupert, a lifelong horseman, went riding with his son.

The improvement each time was so striking that Rupert Isaacson came up with a crazy idea. There is one place, one culture, in the world where horses and shamanic healing intersect. Why not take Rowan there—to Mongolia?

The Horse Boy is the dramatic story of that impossible adventure. In Mongolia, the family found undreamed of landscapes and people, unbearable setbacks, and advances beyond their wildest dreams.

This is a deeply moving, truly one-of-a-kind story—of a family willing to go to the ends of the earth to help their son, and of a boy learning to connect with the world for the first time.

About the Author

Rupert Isaacson was born in London to a South African mother and a Zimbabwean father. Isaacson’s first book, The Healing Land (Grove Press), was a 2004 New York Times Notable Book. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Kristin, and their son, Rowan.

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Text publication date:
29 March 2010
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Praise for Rupert Isaacson
andThe Horse Boy

‘This is a fascinating book. It is the tale of a family’s journey to Mongolia with their five-year-old son who has autism…This is a great book and everyone who is interested in autism, animals or different cultures should read it.’

‘Isaacson has found the rigour to keep in balance his mysticism, his hope and love for his son, and his sheer infuriation at the outrageous misfortune of Rowan’s condition. The result is an elegant, affecting narrative…a triumph of the human spirit.’

‘A book about hope and courage and an extraordinary quest to heal an autistic little boy…an incredible adventure with incredible results, which he writes about in this lovely book. From the sweet birdsong and beauty of a Texan meadow to the majestic oceans of grass and summer wildflowers of the Mongolian steppe, Isaacson takes the reader far beyond his experiences as a parent trying to heal an autistic child. [Rupertson’s] sheer doggedness in undertaking this journey is to his enormous credit. Credit, too, to the power of parental love and the strength of the human spirit.’

‘Isaacson paints a vivid and fascinating picture of people and place. He’s at his best, though, in describing the beautiful and sometimes difficult exchanges with his son. Although obviously loving Rowan, he is open about the frustrations and difficulties arising from autism and the strains it can put on a family and a marriage.’