Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Maybe The Horse Will Talk” as Want to Read:
Maybe The Horse Will Talk
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Maybe The Horse Will Talk

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,013 ratings  ·  157 reviews
'I am absolutely terrified of losing a job I absolutely hate.'

Stephen Maserov has problems. A onetime teacher, married to fellow teacher Eleanor, he has retrained and is now a second-year lawyer working at mega-firm Freely Savage Carter Blanche. Despite toiling around the clock to make budget, he's in imminent danger of being downsized. And to make things worse, Eleanor, s
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Random House Australia
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Maybe The Horse Will Talk, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Maybe The Horse Will Talk

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,013 ratings  ·  157 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Maybe The Horse Will Talk
It is with great sadness and inner conflict that I decided to quit on this novel around the 40% mark.
There's a huge discordance between how much I care about the issues at the core of this novel and how little I've enjoyed it. I appreciate what Perlman is doing and I'm convinced he had the best intentions, it just didn't work for me. I'm sorry to say that I found it trite, at times, the conversations were unbelievable, moralistic and read like essays on women's discrimination and harassment in t
I will be blunt here and I say this was a very difficult read. The storyline combined with a dense structure of the writing made me do something I seldom normally do with skimming countless paragraphs. The saving grace and thankfully there was one was the light-hearted nature and humor of the storyline that was very much present after a heavy first quarter of reading.

Perlman's first novel since 2011's The Street Sweeper concentrates on a subject that has been brought to life in recent times by h
Jan 20, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian
Who is this book for?
The 'social message' is so hamfisted it feels condescending. Just one example:

"When, when we've dealt with these cases, after we've dealt with them, we need to address the culture of the corporation to prevent these things from happening again."
"Well, boys will be boys, but you can draft a memo telling them to keep their hands in their pockets, not that they will, and I'll be happy to sign it. That it?" 148

The bad guys are really rich, dumb and irredeemable and the good gu
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australia, c21st, 19review
As you know if you've read his Meet an Aussie Author profile , Elliot Perlman is one of my all-time favourite authors. No other author that I know of has so consistently been able to combine social critique and an exploration of the human condition, within novels that are unputdownable.

As an added bonus, Perlman's latest novel Maybe the Horse Will Talk is set in Melbourne, in the streets and alleyways of our corporate jungle, our bars and cafés, and even in Hawthorn's tree-lined streets and m
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
So disappointed in this book. I love, love all Perlman’s other books so was really looking forward to this. Unfortunately I found it trite, unbelievable, poorly written - like a potboiler - and sexist, no powerful female characters, they all did what the men told them to. It felt like the book equivalent of eating fast food. An easy read but completely unsatisfying.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Lawyer in-jokes and mansplaining of Me Too for those living under a rock for last few years. The literary equivalent of "But some of us are nice guys". ...more
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Reading this is like a drug. Everything else goes out of the window. A very fast paced, laugh out loud and witty account of life in a big legal firm. Stephen Maserov, a second year lawyer, hates his job but is terrified of losing it. In a convoluted plot he manages to outsmart the hated senior partner, reveal and skewer sexual harassment in a major client, explore the nature and pitfalls of friendship and marriage, and earn himself some time to consider his future. I was definitely hooked into t ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How insightful is Elliot Perlman. He taps into the socio-economic zeitgeist as no other Aussie writer is able to do. He is our pre-eminent social commentator.
I couldn't put this book down. Th characters are somehow people we get to know intimately and they enact and address themes so relevant to our way of life. The major theme of sexual harassment in the corporate world is treated with authorial empathy lacking in the psychopaths at the top of the legal pyramid. A former barrister, Perlman kno
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 ⭐️
Sadly I didn’t find this as enjoyable as “seven types of ambiguity” or “the street sweeper”.
“Maybe the horse will talk” lacks the richness and depth that make Perlman’s other novels so captivating. Clever as the writing may be, Perlman missed an opportunity to write quality female characters which would have much better fit the narrative centred on the #metoo movement. It just comes off yet another ‘man saves woman from man’ novel.
Dec 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
I found this novel to be utterly condescending and in some places nauseating. Am I wrong, or is Pearlman appropriating the harm perpetuated upon millions of women every day in order to pen a best-seller?

Why do we need a 'nice guy' to rescue women from 'bad guys', all the while emotionally manipulating them and making blushing comments about how he desperately wants to bend them over a desk at work but knows that 'now' that would be 'perceived as wrong'?

Does anyone else feel that having a novel
Fiona Lansdown
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
I absolutely loved the opening pages of this book, but found it lagged a bit in the middle and I started to lose interest. Still, a very clever reflection on the state of our modern working lives. Some absolutely brilliant reflections and some very witty dialogue.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-reviews
Elliot Perlman is one of my favourite authors. I have read and much admired his trio of novels — Three Dollars (1998), Seven Types of Ambiguity (2003) and The Street Sweeper (2012) — so was looking forward to his new novel, Maybe the Horse Will Talk, published in Australia at the end of last year. (The title refers to a children’s fable that suggests anything is possible.)

A satire about corporate greed, it’s set in Melbourne’s cut-throat legal world and addresses all kinds of relevant, contempor
Tiana Nairn
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Eliot Perlman’s novel is brilliant and unusual - it had me flying through the pages with a burning need to know what would happen next while also delighting at how perfectly he has captured our vulnerabilities and laughing out loud at his spot-on satire. An entirely satisfying read!! Perlman has cleverly highlighted the mix of desperation and commitment that many professionals are feeling as corporate mergers, downsizing, offshore work and automation impact on these areas (following on from our ...more
Nola B
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is funny and clever. It is also a summary of so many times that I was backed into a corner by a horny manager . Elliot Perlman has written a book that describes ,so perfectly, the conflict of being an essentially good person ,with having to survive in the modern world: such as being a lawyer.
Tracey Neske
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
This does not read at all like Eliot Perlman's previous literary gems. There is no life in the characters, the plot is unbelievable and the dialogue seems forced. It was with a heavy heart that i abandoned it close to halfway through. ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I am no stranger to pitfalls of corporate work. I have experienced everything from verbal abuse, sexual harassment, and discrimination to then watch it all get covered up by HR and middle management. You could say I might be a little jaded when it comes to my opinions on corporate life, but then that wouldn’t even scratch the surface.

I came across Eliot Perlman’s novel in my first few weeks of moving to Melbourne. I wanted to read something Australian and preferably something local. When the loc
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Perlman has certainly written more intense, more complex and hard-hitting novels than this one; but, I thoroughly enjoyed this satire and felt that the author had definitely smiled as he was writing it. So contemporary in its cynicism of the corporate world, the novel presented an astute view of the human condition, which we have come to expect from this talented Australian author.

The humanity of his main character, Stephen Maserov, engaged me from start to finish. Vulnerable to changes in his m
Scott Whitmont
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Daily life can be stressful in the 21st century. It certainly is for second-year associate lawyer Stephen Maserov toiling away at the uber-firm Freely Savage Carter Blanche to make his budget and not become a ‘downsizing’ statistic. At the same time, he’s trying to salvage his marriage and turn around his separation with his wife; be an attentive (though non-live-in) parent to his two young children and pay the mortgage via the job that he hates. To succeed, he finds himself daringly taking a pr ...more
Sharon J
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read. Very entertaining and incredibly well written.
Jane Rose
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book touched on big issues, sexual harassment the big one but also corporate life, relationships. I found the main character to be believable, leading a life of quiet desperation. Trying so hard and falling short. There were some very funny moments with Steven and Betka trying to outsmart Hamilton.
It is a long time since I read it but this book reminded me of Catch 22.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’m a big fan of this author’s previous books but it might be the time, or my frame of mind after reading two in depth examinations of sexual misconduct investigations, but the idea of a corporate satire about sexual harassment just doesn’t work for me. I couldn’t finish.
Mar 29, 2020 marked it as gave-up
I decided that life is too short and that I have too many reads lined up, to waste any more time on this one.
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it
What’s with the ending? Not clever. Just seemed like he couldn’t be bothered to wrap it up?
The book was easy to read, a bit silly at times. A bit light.
Betty Loveridge
When I was buying Boy Swallows Universe for my cousin’s sixteenth birthday present (retrospectively a far too gritty choice), I was chatting to the sales assistant at Avid Reader about how I wished the ending was left a little untied (more about this book to come), and she pointed out Maybe the Horse Will Talk and said I might enjoy it. After a cursory glance, I nodded politely and rushed out of the store to rescue my carpark from expiry. Like all names of places, persons and things, the book ti ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
The opening line of this book is a classic.

'I'm absolutely terrified of losing a job I absolutely hate'

How many of us is that. A lot I would suggest given there's good data to show that the majority of employees are moderately or actively disengaged. So that opening line alone will have many wage slaves reading on.

The protagonist is a mature-age second year lawyer in a top tier firm who's treated like a slave by a sociopathic partner. This has resulted in a pause in his marriage. All real so far
Annette Chidzey
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Having bought this book as a gift for my son at Christmas and learning how he enjoyed it, I was keen to tackle it myself.
I found it an intriguing mix of humour, unpredictability and honest social commentary that compelled me to think that perhaps as the allegory claimed there are times when “maybe the horse will talk!” Impossible- not at all suggests Perlman who seems to contend that no situation is totally irretrievable no matter how desperate or improbable it would first appear or seem.
H.R. Kemp
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've noticed from the other reviews posted for this book, it appears to be controversial. I am a big fan of Elliot Perlman and have enjoyed all his books but I also understand that his writing style is unconventional. He tackles social issues and provides social commentary in his books but uses a satirical style. His main characters are not traditional heroes or crusaders, but ordinary people navigating a career in a contemporary corporate environment.

The hero, Stephen Maserov, is uncomfortable
Pam Tickner
3 1/2 stars. I loved parts of this book - a humorous look at the very serious issue of sexual assault in the work place. Narrated by the 2nd year lawyer whose job is it to make the claims disappear, the story is full of quirky characters who you want to sit at a bar and have a chat with them! There are a few odd tangents, and you do have to remember when you are reading the book that it is a novel and meant to be entertaining.
Max Coggan
Jan 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
I found the novel difficult to complete. Finished it only to see where it went. Very disappointing after having it recommended.
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this audiobook. Clever, witty, funny, a bit too real. It kept me hooked.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Weekend
  • Bruny
  • All Our Shimmering Skies
  • The Yield
  • Honeybee
  • A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing
  • Infinite Splendours
  • The Living Sea of Waking Dreams
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words
  • There Was Still Love
  • Damascus
  • Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark
  • The Wife and the Widow
  • Too Much Lip
  • A Room Made of Leaves
  • The Good Turn (Cormac Reilly, #3)
  • Sorrow and Bliss
  • Peace (Paul Hirschhausen #2)
See similar books…
Elliot Perlman is an Australian author and barrister. He has written two novels and one short story collection. His work "condemns the economic rationalism that destroys the humanity of ordinary people when they are confronted with unemployment and poverty". This is not surprising in a writer who admires Raymond Carver and Graham Greene because they "write with quite a strong moral centre and a st ...more

News & Interviews

The beauty of a paperback novel is multidimensional. Allow me to explain: The format allows you to catch up on some of 2020's biggest books...
71 likes · 7 comments