“This classy, literate thriller is about chess, psychoanalysis, Russian skulduggery, history, mystery, romance - and more,” wrote Kate Saunders in the Times, reviewing ZUGZWANG by Ronan Bennett, which features a long game of chess between the psychiatrist narrator, Dr Otto Spethmann, and RM Kopelzon, a Polish violinist. “The book includes diagrams of the Spethmann-Kopelzon game which gives it an extra dimension for chess buffs,” said Matthew J Reisz in the Independent on Sunday. “Yet one needs to know nothing of ‘mysterious rook moves’ or the Maróczy Bind to enjoy this atmospheric, ingenious and perfectly paced novel.” “Action of a more dramatic kind flows as the story reaches a crescendo of dizzying complexity,” wrote Carola Groom in the Financial Times.Hark! Is that the merry sound of tills we hear a-ching-chinging? From checkmate to cheque’s mate in six easy moves, it’s no mean feat …
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The hup-yas are popping up like shrooms in an autumn evening’s dusk for Ronan Bennett’s chess-inspired ZUGZWANG, to the extent that The Guardian – which originally published the novel as a series – has run a quick compilation for those of you who don’t have time to trawl the review pages. To wit: