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Queen's Gambit Hardcover – June, 1983
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|Hardcover, June, 1983||
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Amazingly, this novel soon went out of print. And stayed out of print for two decades. Now, at last, it's available again.
What's the fuss about? An eight-year-old orphan named Beth Harmon. Who turns out to be the Mozart of chess. Which brings her joy (she wins! people notice her!) and misery (she's alone and unloved and incapable of asking for help). So she gets addicted to pills. She drinks. She loses. And then, as 17-year-old Beth starts pulling herself together, she must face the biggest challenge of all --- a match with the world champion, a Russian of scary brilliance.
You think: This is thrilling? You think: chess? You think: Must be an "arty" novel, full of interior scenes. Wrong. All wrong.
I tell you: THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT is "Rocky" for smart people.
I tell you: You will care about Beth Harmon more than any fictional character you've encountered in years and years.
I tell you: You will grasp the wrench of loneliness --- and the power of love --- as if this book were happening to you.
Do you need to know anything about chess? Nope. Nothing. Tevis was a storyteller whose genius was to tell great stories; there's nothing between you and the people.
My bet: If you read five pages, you won't put it down. You too will weep. And cheer. And at the end, raise your fist like a fool for a little girl who never existed and a game only wimps play.
I am fairly sure that the Polgar experiment is what Tevis used as the basic premise for writing this book, but then he complemented the idea with a really complex main character, which has to overcome the difficulties set to her by the cards she was dealt in life. This is a really uplifting and emotional story, and Tevis shows his skills as a writer by drawing us into the world of chess with great descriptions of the personalities that populate the royal game. And to tell you the truth, chess is just the vehicle chosen in this case, but the story could have been written with other competitive sports without losing any of its flair, since what is more important is the struggle Elizabeth Harmon undergoes during her childhood, teenage years and young adulthood.
Some people may think I have lost my mind, but I believe that those that do not play or understand chess will have a better time reading this book than serious chess players. There are two reasons for this assertion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unique. A sports story about chess. I mean, about chess and playing chess. There's lots of fiction where chess is a prop. Read morePublished 1 month ago by C. Hosen
I have no interest in chess, yet I was absolutely enthralled by this book. This is a book of conflict, not of wonky jargon. It explores painful themes and commitment. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Erik Hidle
Easy read, minimal knowledge of chess is needed to follow along.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.5 stars, a poignant, well written story, and one that keeps one's attention till the last page. Actually, the game of Chess is secondary to the novel's leading young lady/chess... Read morePublished 3 months ago by L. I. Coleman
I had no expectations when I first began reading this well-written novel. Within a short time, however, I found that I could not stop turning the pages. Read morePublished 4 months ago by lawyeraau
Great story. Kept your attention. Helpful if you know chess.Published 4 months ago by Thomas R. Edgar
I enjoyed this very much. Not a chess expert but the game scenes certainly worked for me.I will seek oyt other Tevis booksPublished 5 months ago by Thomas A Curtis
I can truly not remember when I have ever disliked a main character as much as I disliked Beth Harmon. Read morePublished 5 months ago by MaryAnn H.