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The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis

The Queen's Gambit (original 1983; edition 1983)

by Walter Tevis

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4171625,451 (4.16)12
Title:The Queen's Gambit
Authors:Walter Tevis
Info:Random House Inc (T) (1983), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 243 pages
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The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis (1983)

Recently added byIshimura, private library, scarper, CurrerBell, joeydag, jphamilton, _jimnelson_, claudio8



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One thing I found particularly distasteful about this book was Tevis's treatment of the quasi-lesbian relationship between Jolene and Beth in the orphanage. Now I do NOT mean by this that I find anything distasteful about lesbianism per se. My problem is its nature in this novel as a somewhat non-consensual sexual experiment by an older girl on a younger, which borders (at the very least) on child abuse and which is apparently seen by Tevis as innocuous or even as something positive. I get a sense of Tevis as a very creepy voyeur writing sexually provocative material about children.

I also have a hard time making sense of Beth's use of pills and alcohol – more precisely, of Tevis's reaction to Beth's addictions. He obviously wasn't presenting them as something desirable, but he doesn't depict Beth as making any particular attempt to conquer them, except to the extent that she goes on the wagon from time to time when excessive use interferes with her chess abilities. This is an issue, in fairness, that Tevis might have intended to address in his never-written sequel; but for The Queen's Gambit as a stand-alone, the treatment of Beth's addictions leaves the reader with a real sense of incompleteness in the story.

The lengthy descriptions of chess moves are positively tedious – but, then, I'm no chess aficionado. These lengthy passages made the book quite a quick-read for me since I barely skimmed over them. ( )
  CurrerBell | Aug 6, 2015 |
Great psychological suspense - who would think chess game descriptions could be so revealing or riveting. Very compelling reading. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
Una bella trama, un bel soggetto, una bella penna. T. è capace di scrivere dando dinamicità al testo: è come essere su un'auto in accellerazione continua, sempre un po' con il fiato in gola. Un senso di sospensione davvero singolare. E le pagine scorrono, nonostante frequentissime divagazioni su tecniche scacchistiche. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
I had thought this was a book for children, since it is about an 8 year old girl who learns chess. However, it is an adult novel, with interesting characters. The girl, an orphan in Kentucky in the 1950s, is given a daily tranquilizer, along with the other orphans, to keep them quiet. This starts an addiction that develops along with her Chess prodigy skills. She becomes an US Chess champion, and later faces the Russian Chess Grandmasters, who really frighten her.
The pacing is good, the characters are realistic, and you soon begin to care for the people in the book. A little knowledge of chess will help understand what is going on, but the tension is not shown in the moves, but the reactions to the games and positions the players put themselves in to.
A good book. ( )
  hadden | Sep 30, 2013 |
I found this book lying on a table at the library one day and started reading it. A great story--I keep recommending it to people but I don't think anyone's taken me up on it yet. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394528018, Hardcover)

Beth Harmon becomes an orphan when her parents are killed in an automobile accident. At eight years old, she is placed in an orphanage in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, where the children are given a tranquillizer twice a day. Plain and shy, she learns to play chess from the janitor in the basement and discovers that she is a chess genius. She is adopted by Alma and Allston Wheatley and goes to a local school, but remains an outsider. Desperate to study chess and having no money, she steals a chess magazine from a newspaper store and then some money from Alma Wheatley and a girl at school, so that she can enter a tournament. She also steals some of the tranquillizers to which she is becoming addicted. At thirteen she wins the tournament, and by sixteen she is competing in the US Open Championship. Like Fast Eddie (in "The Hustler"), she hates to lose.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:39 -0400)

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