Engaging and fast-paced, this gripping coming-of-age vel of chess, feminism, and addiction speeds to a conclusion as elegant and satisfying as a mate in four. Eight year-old orphan Beth Harmon is quiet, sullen, and by all appearances unremarkable. That is, until she plays her first game of chess. Her senses grow sharper, her thinking clearer, and for the first time in her life she feels herself fully in control. By the age of sixteen, she s competing for the U.S. Open championship. But as Beth hones her skills on the professional circuit, the stakes get higher, her isolation grows more frightening, and the thought of escape becomes all the more tempting.
Walter Tevis was an English literature professor at Ohio University. He is the author of seven books, including three that were the basis of major motion pictures: The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Hustler, and The Color of Money. His other books include Mockingbird, Far From Home, and The Steps of the Sun. He died in 1984.