- Paperback: 428 pages
- Publisher: Star Pine Books (May 6, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0997397926
- ISBN-13: 978-0997397925
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,179,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Chess Garden Paperback – May 6, 2016
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About the Author
Brooks Hansen's novels – THE MONSTERS OF ST. HELENA, PERLMAN’S ORDEAL, THE CHESS GARDEN, and BOONE (co-authored with Nick Davis) were all New York Times Notable Books. THE CHESS GARDEN was also selected as a PW Best Book of the Year in 1995. He has written one book for Young Readers, CAESAR’S ANTLERS, which he also illustrated. In 2009 he released his first memoir, THE BROTHERHOOD OF JOSEPH, and in 2005 he received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for his most recent book, JOHN THE BAPTIZER, which was published in 2009 by W.W. Norton. More recently, his work has appeared in CENTRAL PARK: AN ANTHOLOGY (Bloomsbury USA,2012), and THE GOOD BOOK (Simon & Schuster, 2015).
Top customer reviews
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Can't say I understand it all, but it's a book you'll love to discuss with others. And that's a high recommendation, isn't it?
As a reader, I don't typically go for the "feel sorry for myself/the Fates are against me" storylines. I do read books that deal with serious, even sad, subject matter, but I seem to react better to those than aren't more of a pity party to which I've (mistakenly) been invited. I don't say this as a good or bad thing, only as an indication of my taste. From that indication, you might better judge my opinion of this book, which is very high, by the way.
The story begins as a reminiscence by a widow of her deceased physician husband and how they both dealt with the loss of their son. While this sounds depressing and, to use one of my strongest condemning phrases, angst-filled, it actually handles both issues in a way that left me . . . shoot, how do you describe a sad topic that doesn't leave you exactly sad? Hopeful?
So, with that in mind, I loved this book. If I can't describe the plot well, maybe I can do better with the book itself . . . it is impressive and at times, fun. It will slow at points, but hang in there. It'll be worth it in the end.
Most beautiful is a long creation myth for the Antipodes, a land inhabited by game pieces. The myth tells of a jealous aristocrat whose silver-haired family washes the silver from their hair into a lake, causing a star to stop in its path and keeping a baby prince, the rightful king of the land, from growing up. It tells of a girl named Evelin, blind and deaf from being hidden in a well, who together with the baby king, brought forth the "totem" game pieces into the land. It's too long and complicated and beautiful to summarize well; you must read it.
The Antipodes parts of the book, the "twilight letters" of Dr. Uyterhoeven, are interspersed with other story-lines: the Doctor's youth, training and courtship in Europe, the Doctor and Mrs. Uyterhoeven's later life in Ohio, and the Doctor's real experiences in the Boer Wars. Chess, mysticism, homeopathy and opium figure in the Doctor's experiences, and Hansen has a wonderful talent for conveying a warmth and familiarity in the Uyterhoevens and their chess garden, without losing the fantastic and philosophical character of the Antipodes adventure.
Really this is one of the best things I've read.
Most recent customer reviews
I recommend this book to everyone with whom I discuss literature.Read more