The luneberg variation by Paolo Maurensig

source – own copy from inside books thanks

Paulo Maurensig is an Italian writer this was his debut novel published just after he turned fifty.This is my second Italian week read

The Luneburg variation is book about chess ,secrets and world war two ,it is set in a house where a dead body will appear ,it’s about an old man and a younger man ,the chess reflects life in some ways as the books ,unfolds but that is as much as I know on the chess side I play but am not very good ,but the chess is maybe just a framing device for the way the story turns out .Hans Meyer the young man has come to learn from a grand master the older man Tabori ,the men have spent most of there lives studying this game and although different both have a part to play as they narrate the story ,a murder has happen but also this is linked to the past horror of world war two the dead man Dieter Frisch is a german from Munich ,the action happens in Vienna where the old house is

They say that chess was born in blood shed .

Legend has it that when the game was first presented to the court ,the sultan decide to reward the obscure inventor by granting any wish he might have .The recompense requested seemed modest : the quantity of wheat that would result from putting a single grain of rice on the first of the boards sixty-four squares then two on second and four on the third and so on ..I ll leave the in and outs for you to find out the book is very short 138 pages in my edition.

The great opening and the impossible task of supplying the wheat by doubling up on every square .

The book remind me of Kafka or maybe Zweig a bit apart from the setting there is something Noir about this book dark secrets and a constant building of tension .The description of the house remind me a bit of the house in citizen Kane ,where Kane dies ,that’s how the book felt like a black and white film ,A great find by my friend Simon at inside books that sent it to me .the book was translated by Jon Rothschild

Winston’s score –

the tension in this film is similar to the tension in the book ,also both are set in Vienna and round similar times .

Have you read any books with chess in ?

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nana Fredua-Agyeman
    Jan 25, 2011 @ 14:42:22

    Great review. I don’t play chess but I am beginning to love this book already.


  2. lizzysiddal
    Jan 25, 2011 @ 18:51:56

    Books with chess? Chess – Stefan Zweig, Zugzwang – Ronan Bennett. Both read, both recommended …. and The Luneberg Variation added to the virtual TBR.


  3. Tom C
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 08:48:07

    Just my sort of book Stu – thanks for bringing it to my attention. It sounds a little like Embers by Sando Marai. The only chess book I can think of is “Chess” by Stefan Zweig.


    • winstonsdad
      Jan 27, 2011 @ 12:46:17

      It is your sort tom has more of mid European feel than Italian feel ,all the best stu (sorry for delay your comment keep end up in spam for some reason )


  4. parrish
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 17:45:07

    With it being set around a game with two protagonists, one old & one younger, it sounds a bit like – The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata, Although this book is a fictionalized account of a famous match.


  5. Annabel
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 09:49:31

    The (Luzhin) Defence by Nabokov is rather fine (and a great movie too with John Turturro tortured chess player.) Set in Italy also…


  6. Silvia
    Feb 01, 2011 @ 12:58:21

    I read Il guardiano dei sogni by Paolo Maurensig and loved it. There might be an English translation – not sure.


  7. Trackback: Game of the Gods by Paolo Maurensig | Winstonsdad's Blog

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January 2011


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