Flooring it on the road to self-discovery: Jesse Kraai’s total chess novel
31 December 2013, 23:55
By David Kerans

WASHINGTON (VOR)– Jesse Kraai has no monopoly on describing intellectual commitment or intensity.

He is not the first to devote a novel to a teenager struggling to find a place in society. And he is not alone in communicating the inner world of an artist through fiction. But any reader of Kraai’s Lisa, a Chess Novel, will immediately sense his mastery at opening the doors to the inner world of an artist-in-the-making.

Kraai’s subject, a misfit California middle-schooler named Lisa, has the soul, the daring, the talent, and the determination to test herself in a stern, spare, and competitive arena: tournament chess. Kraai himself is a grandmaster of chess, and a pedigreed philosopher to boot, and he draws deeply from his personal experience to convey the stress, pain, anxiety, and joy intrinsic to reaching one’s limits in chess.

But to characterize Lisa as a chess novel is to sell it very short. Lisa’s journey is a blind jump into the intensity required to cultivate artistic prowess, be it devoted to chess or something else. Lisa is desperate in almost every way a teenager can be. This desperation fuels her drive to prove herself and thereby secure approval from others. Kraai brings readers along on Lisa’s ride with writing that has the vividness and immediacy to take them to a state of commitment most never dare to attempt in their own lives.

VOR’s David Kerans sat down with Jesse Kraai to draw the author out on Lisa:
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar