Book Review: Walter Tevis ~ The Queen’s Gambit (1983)

NetFlix Original Series ~ The Queen’s Gambit (Anya Taylor-Joy) (2020)

The NetFlix series is brilliant and compelling TV. In general I prefer to read a book rather than watch a series or film. On this occasion the series was better. Two other Tevis novels I’ve read were turned into brilliant films, The Hustler and The man who fell to earth. In the first Paul Newman was in supreme form but he couldn’t capture the lyrical beauty of the writing. The second saw David Bowie at his ethereal best and failing to reach the heights of the nuanced storyline.

So why have NetFlix succeeded? They doggedly stuck to the storyline. Whole areas of dialogue are lifted and used in a visual setting making it even more lustrous than it was on the page. And the action is far better done. Liberties were taken with the book but I’m not a purist.

Texis did research. And it failed. It didn’t fail because he was wrong. It failed because it was right. But this is a novel it isn’t a training manual for budding chess players. Dare I say it: He missed the point of his own novel.

Having said all of that I’m very pleased that I read the novel. It did offer some wonderful writing and genius. Do both. If you do one watch the series.

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