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Chess Garden

Brooks Hansen

466 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1573225630 / ISBN 13: 9781573225632
Published by Riverhead Trade, 1996
Used Condition: Used: Very Good Soft cover
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VG Nice copy with light cover wear. Pages clean with tight binding. Bookseller Inventory # 1610060388

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Chess Garden

Publisher: Riverhead Trade

Publication Date: 1996

Binding: Mass Market Paperback

Book Condition:Used: Very Good

About this title


Star Pine Books celebrates the 20th anniversary of this most unusual, magical, and moving novel...

In the fall of 1901, in the town of Dayton, Ohio, a series of mysterious letters begins arriving at the garden home of Dr. and Mrs. Uyterhoeven. All are written by the doctor, who left only months before to serve in the relief camps set up for the Boer in South Africa, yet the letters make no mention of refugees or the war. Instead, they tell of a fantastic land the doctor has discovered, a floating island populated entirely by games pieces – chess, checkers, marbles, dice, and more -- all living, congregating, and feuding, and all embroiled in the final stages of a secret revolution that is both deeply troubling, but also strangely hopeful...

Dr. Uyterhoeven’s journey in that enchanted land, and the quiet ceremony with which his wife Sonja shares his tale with the neighborhood children, provide the main threads of this extraordinary work, weaving through a brilliant tapestry of dreams, histories, visions and meditations. What finally emerges, though, is the story of a man and a woman, born in the lowlands to two different worlds, joined by love, rent by loss, and reunited by the inspired life they would create together in their new American home.

“an improbable, brilliant tale...a Bidlungsroman, a novel of ideas, a love story and...a spiritual guide. Comparisons toNabokov and Calvino are doubtless in order...But THE CHESS GARDEN stands by itself, a marvel of attention to the things of this world, and worlds beyond.

- New York Times Book Review

”Like Garcia Marquez, Borges, even Poe, Hansen a true inventor of fiction, and a protean, generous one at that.”

- Village Voice Literary Supplement

“Everything in the stories is new, unexpected, strange, and mysterious...With a richness of invention that makes the world of Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis seem impoverished.”

- The Boston Sunday Globe

“These tales form an allegory not only of the Doctor’s exemplary life but also of the wisdom he has gained in it – a quietude and a benevolence that in today’s world really do seem fabulous.”

- The New Yorker

“A masterpiece of surreal storytelling."

Library Journal

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).

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