Tuesday, April 12, 2011

                                                                     Walter Tevis                                                                       1928-1984

I have been home sick since last Friday and haven't had any energy to do much of anything but sleep and when I am awake to read.  I just finished The Queens Gambit by Walter Tevis and am now reading The Hustler both books are studies in characters who are 'the best there is' at two of the personal passions of Walter Tevis; chess in The Queens Gambit and pool in The Hustler.  I know a little about chess and even less about pool but I still enjoyed both books. He writes the stories demonstrating that he knows and loves his subject but he doesn't write the stories so that if you don't you are going to be lost or bored.  The books are about people who have a passion and talent for a game and want to prove they are the best at it but their personal demons especially pride brings them down just like a classical greek hero.  Perfection is just outside their grasp but their desire to attain it and the heartbreak of failing is part of the baggage of being human. To love anyone or anything is to risk having your heart broken as much, if not more, than attaining what you want and living happily ever after.  In games we condense the larger human struggle to win and the consequence in that contest that someone has to lose.

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