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lorenzoberardi

The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

Carl Haffners Love of the Draw - Bumped into this book for two reasons, both related with personal failures:

1) I've heard about Thomas Glavinic as an interesting young novelist who published this one when he was just 26 getting positive claim.
2) It's about the game of chess.

In fact

1) I passed the age of 26 without publishing any successful book despite of my ambitions.
2) I'm an awfully bad chess player unable to get the main virtues that let you rule the game.

"Carl Haffners Liebe" is a good book. You don't need to be a chess master to appreciate it and, in case you are, you would probably be disappointed by the lack of obscure technicism while talking about the game. I think Glavinic chose the right way for writing this novel.
Perhaps the only thing I missed is a better work on some characters, especially while developing the female ones (is it just a coincidence?)

The novel in itself is interesting and creates a very intense atmosphere doing an excellent portrait of the protagonist I felt many things in common with (apart from the whole chess talent).
There are also some smart and sharp lines about the way a chess master may look at life in a careless way out of the chessboard.
Glavinic draws a convincing fresco of how the game of chess was followed during its belle epoque with World Tournaments all over Europe before the whole thing became just another Usa/Ussr strategic battlefield during Cold War.

Valutation stands between three stars and four.
I chose to give this novel three because I'm pretty sure Glavinic did even better in his following books and I'm eager to read them.