The Sureness of Horses–Chapter Summary–Complete
Week 1: Chapters 1, and 2 (pages 2-19—18 pages)
–Exiting a plane, Diana Buchanan asks Wade Middleton’s help with a heavy saddle. He throws his back out. Guilt overcomes her conservatism; she drives him home. The next morning his friend Jorge Calderon comes seeking help at work.
–When Diana asks Wade about his interest in poetry he reads her a poem about horses. She’s not free to date, but they agree to meet over coffee.
–Wade and Diana discuss their kids. Wade’s daughter Amelia is a photo major back east at Bard; Diana’s kids, Beth and Robbie, are transferring to local schools. Starting Palo Alto High School, Beth is feeling lost.
Week 2: Chapters 3, 4, and 5 (pages 20-45—26 pages)
–Wade learns that Jorge has messed up with a customer and will be fired. Not only can he not save his friend, he can’t even warn him.
–Diana invites Wade to the ranch where she keeps her horse and introduces him to her friend’s horse, Artemis. Wade bonds with the horse.
–Diana still won’t date Wade, but, after he reads her one of his poems, she agrees to go to a poetry reading with him.
Week 3: Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9 (pages 46-63—18 pages)
–At the reading, one of Wade’s friends reads a ribald poem that Diana considers so offensive that she walks out. Wade sadly writes her off.
–Diana talks to a friend in Dallas who likes poetry and convinces Diana she owes Wade an apology. Diana and Wade enter a new phase of their relationship.
–Diana is much warmer in her elegant condominium; they kiss for the first time. Between lessons and rides with Diana, Wade learns his way around horses.
Week 4: Chapters 10, 11, and 12 (pages 64-85—22 pages)
–Wade comes into his office to find Jorge in his guest chair—he’s being fired that morning. Wade counsels and comforts Jorge as he’s walked out the door.
–When Diana goes to Texas for Christmas, Wade eats a lonely breakfast in San Francisco, rides a rented horse, and phones Diana and Amelia.
–Part II of the novel opens as Diana returns on New Year’s Day. She meets Wade at the ranch, where she unrolls a blanket in a secret place off the trail. For the first time, they make love.
Week 5: Chapters 13, 14, 15, and 16 (pages 86-113—27 pages)
–Diana prepares Wade to go foxhunting and arranges a dinner party. Wade asks Diana to invite Jorge and Marita in hopes of finding his friend a job.
–Wade goes out on his first mock hunt, where the hounds chase a laid-down scent instead of foxes or coyotes. He falls in love with foxhunting as Diana leads him from hill to hill.
–At Diana’s party, the special guest at dinner is Billy, the Chief Counsel of an energy firm. Billy warms to provocatively dressed Marita when she expresses hatred of Castro.
–Billy encourages Jorge to come see him for a job. Wade expresses his dislike of Billy to Diana. They quarrel. Seeking his roots, Wade plans a trip home.
Week 6: Chapters 17, 18, and 19 (pages 114-141—27 pages)
–Wade makes a sales call in Chicago and returns to the town where he grew up. With a stranger’s help, Wade catalogs a series of Steps on how to return home.
–Jorge is indeed offered an almost unbelievably lucrative job, complete with stock options. Billy’s only proviso is that Marita come in for a private interview.
–Wade meets his daughter Amelia in Mexico to find a town where she can study Spanish. At dinner, a man in a tie begs the bread from their table.
Week 7: Chapters 20, 21, and 22, (pages 142-163—21 pages)
–Jorge, suddenly flush with stock-option money, has lunch with Wade. Other than his concerns about Billy and Marita, Jorge is on top of the world.
–Wade and Diana continue training for the hunt together. He finally takes her to a poetry reading she likes—Pulitzer-prize-winning Galway Kinnell.
–Marita, house hunting near Wade’s, knocks on his door and leans back provocatively on his bed. Troubled, Wade writes a poem he can’t show anyone.
Week 8: Chapters 23, 24, and 25 (pages 164-185—21 pages)
–Ray Snyderman rewards Wade when the Chicago deal comes through. Even though Wade’s horsemanship improves, Diana has nightmares.
–Jorge is in escrow on the house Marita found near Wade’s. When Wade learns Jorge’s financing is dependent on stock options, he urges him walk away.
–Wade goes on his first hunt chasing real game, and loves it. The hounds are on scent and so is Wade.
Week 9: Chapters 26, 27, and 28 (pages 186-208—22 pages)
–The hounds, improbably, come upon a wild boar and eviscerate it. Wade reacts so harshly that Diana withdraws from him completely.
–Marita proudly invites Diana and Wade to dinner in her new house near Wade’s. Jorge reveals he’s facing margin calls and a possible sellout of the house.
–Marita knocks on Wade’s door. Jorge has passed out. After some resistance, they go to bed together. After, he watches her cross the street to their garage.
Week 10: Chapters 29, 30, and 31 (pages 209-230—21 pages)
–Wade, awakened by the police, learns Marita is dead and Jorge is on life support at Stanford Hospital. He convinces Diana to join him in the police station
–Fearful he’ll be implicated, Wade treads carefully at the police station. Beth, concerned about Eva, slowly convinces her mother to take the little girl overnight.
–Jorge comes out of his coma only long enough to murmur to Wade, “You bastard.” Diana keeps her distance from Wade, but allows him to visit Eva.
Week 11: Chapters 32, 33, 34 (pages 231-251—21 pages)
–Diana gives in to Eva and has Wade over to dinner. He tries to read poetry to her but she interrupts.
–When Diana asks, “Did you sleep with Marita?” Wade doesn’t respond. She declares all is over between them. Wade revisits Jorge. But he’s passed away.
–Part III Starts with Wade’s nightmares, where he dreams of how Marita died. At work, Wade’s sales are down; he feels at risk. He considers killing himself.
Week 12: Chapters 35, 36, 37, and Postscript (pages 252-271—20 pages)
–Amelia visits Wade and surprises him by announcing she’d like to move near. She acts as a catalyst between Diana, her daughter Beth, and Wade.
–Wade is meticulously consistent in his devotion to Eva, seeing her regularly. Diana surprises him by inviting him to the closing hunt meet.
–In the closing meet, Wade falls and is stepped on by his horse. Diana takes him in her arms. Back at the barn, Wade hand-feeds Artemis a traditional mash.
–(Postscript) In a letter from Wade to his goddaughter Eva as she’s starting to jump horses, he tells her to “throw her heart clear over the fence.”