The Queen’s Gambit (by Walter Tevis)

The new Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit is getting some buzz. I haven’t seen it yet, and truthfully such an activity is not high on my list, for I am an old-school fan of the very great novel by Walter Tevis.

Tevis was not prolific but each book was important. His best was The Queen’s Gambit. When it first came out in 1983, it was unexpectedly promoted at certain mystery bookshops. Mystery fans are very good at word of mouth, and this new novel — while not a mystery — seemed to have everything mystery lovers require.

Don’t take my word for it. Lawrence Block included it on his list of Five Books to Read More Than Once.

Block says he’s read it five times; I’m at least at that number, perhaps even six or seven. When I was first dating my future wife Sarah Deming I gave her copy; eventually she created the first Wikipedia page for The Queen’s Gambit in February 2008. (True story.)

I may get to the Netflix adaptation eventually. It doesn’t matter. I simply appreciate how a publication from 1983 has a fresh shot in the arm; many more people are now going to have a chance to read this classic book. Long live the Queen.