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Maybe The Horse Will Talk

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  472 ratings  ·  90 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,
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Random House Australia
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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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
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
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
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
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 ...more
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 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
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.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
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.
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".
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,
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
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
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 ...more
Sharon Jarvis
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read. Very entertaining and incredibly well written.
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
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book's secret is its lack of apparent agenda. Stephen Maserov is a reactive hero, a man looking only for safety in a volatile world and who, consequently, finds himself trapped between a monetary rock and a moralistic hard place. It is this mediatory relationship that allows Perlman to dip into the predominant ideologies surrounding real-world sexual harassment scandals without becoming so condemnatory that the book ceases to be fiction.

Ostensibly, ‘Maybe the Horse Will Talk’ is a
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.
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.
Valli Hawkins
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Australia has its own Joseph Heller. I have not enjoyed a book more since I finished “Catch 22” more years’ ago than I care to remember.
If anything, Perlman is restrained in his description of management malice, bullying, and ineptitude. And this is all to the good. Any reader exposed to the environments he describes will recognise and cringe at their own responses to their everyday work and domestic life.
Perlman explains so well why people are what they are and, in doing this, he helps us all
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
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this audiobook. Clever, witty, funny, a bit too real. It kept me hooked.
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.
Jennifer (JC-S)
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: librarybooks
'I am absolutely terrified of losing a job I absolutely hate.'

Stephen Maserov used to be a teacher. He retrained as a lawyer to try to give his family financial security. He’s now a second-year lawyer for a big corporate law firm, Freely Savage Carter Blanche where he’s working impossible hours to try to make budget. His wife Eleanor, who supported him in his career move, has asked him to move out of the family home because of the hours he works.
Sigh. So, there’s Stephen, working in a job he
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.
Davey de Mestre
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was compellingly written, engaging to read and topically thoughtful. The characters drew you in and the plot was at times page turning. Drama, love, law and life are explored in the context of the 21st century “MeToo” conundrum which dutifully served the purposes of this book’s enquire into work place sexual harassment and the female victims that are impacted. However, while the book was an easy and pleasant read, I finished feeling that there was so much more Perlman could have given. ...more
Gretchen Bernet-Ward
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First time I've read a book by this author but what a blast! Elliot Perlman has written an entertaining yet very real social critique, there are so many relatable aspects to Stephen Maserov and his problematic life. Perlman will be talking at a local bookshop tomorrow night, so I'm going to get along there to listen, learn and maybe ask for an autograph. This book gets you outside your comfort zone and worth the effort.

Talking about an ex boyfriend Jessica says "...he was obsessed with his
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
3.5 stars. A great corporate satire, and some memorable fast-talking characters. I thought it lost focus a little towards the end and I would’ve liked to see more a little more depth in characterisation of the villains, and some of the women in the book (Eleanor, and also the head of HR for example). Some of the dialogue felt “mouthpiece-y”, and the direct speech of certain characters a little same-y. Still, I really enjoyed it though and would definitely recommend.
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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 ...more