The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis
Thursday, 03, Sep 2009 11:25

Reissued by Penguin Books, paperback, 243 pages, £9.99.

In a nutshell…

Life is a game of chess

What’s it all about?

Ever since she was a little girl, emotionally neglected under an authoritarian regime in an orphanage, chess has been a form of spiritual rapture for Beth, a form of escapism from the realities of her life and her addiction to tranquilisers (and later her alcoholism). The book follows her progress from prodigy to adulthood, her career and emotional development.

Who’s it by?

Walter Tevis (1928-1984), the American writer perhaps most famous for his novels The Hustler and The Man Who Fell to Earth, both of which have been adapted for film. The Queen’s Gambit was originally released in 1983.

This Penguin edition includes an introduction by Lionel Shriver, the acclaimed journalist and novelist, who won the Orange prize in 2005 for We Need to Talk About Kevin.

As an example…

“She did not open her eyes even to see the time remaining on her clock or to look across the table at Borgov or to see the enormous crowd who had come to the auditorium to watch her play. She let all that go from her mind and allowed herself only the chessboard of her imagination with its intricate deadlock. It did not really matter who was playing the black pieces or whether the material board sat in Moscow or New York or in the basement of an orphanage; this eidetic image was her proper domain.” – page 240

Here is the full article.

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