Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book 78 - The Cardturner by Louis Sachar - USA

I know nothing about cards, I don't play cards - well other than solitaire. This book features the card game 'bridge' and what an appropriate metaphor for life, for the complexities of the characters and their lives, for understanding and misunderstanding. 

Alton Richards is not having the best of summer vacations. His girlfriend is now dating his best friend, his family is not able to go anywhere and before he even starts to look for part time work his mother's favourite uncle decides to sack his regular card turner and insist that Alton step in to fill her place. Uncle Lester is a cantankerous, self made millionaire who is only his family's favourite uncle because of what he might leave them in his will. Uncle Lester needs a card turner because he is blind. He plays bridge, he plays like a genius and he plays to win. In this story the card game bridge becomes an arena in which the tactics and strategies echo the real life manipulations of Alton's family, close and extended. Alton's  mother thinks she knows everything about the hands that have been dealt to her Uncle, his wife, his wife's sister and so on but as Alton gets to know his uncle and his bridge partners he discovers the truth.

Not knowing anything about bridge was not a problem as Alton has a method for describing the features of the game without letting it get in the way of the story. I enjoyed this book and can thoroughly recommend it.

Guardian Book Review