The Defense

The Defense

A Novel

Book - 1990
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As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted, withdrawn, sullen--an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates. He takes up chess as a refuge from the anxiety of his everyday life. His talent is prodigious and he rises to the rank of grandmaster--but at a cost: in Luzhin' s obsessive mind, the game of chess gradually supplants the world of reality. His own world falls apart during a crucial championship match, when the intricate defense he has devised withers under his opponent's unexpected and unpredictabke lines of assault.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1990
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed
ISBN: 9780679727224
Branch Call Number: NABOKOV V
Characteristics: 256 p. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Scammell, Michael


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Jan 21, 2018

An excellent read! The main character and narrator, Luzhin, grew up as a somewhat "damaged" boy. He withdrew from the norms of socialization and human interaction. Chess became his refuge. His life, thoughts, and actions became calculated chess moves where people were telling interpretations of one another. Navokov brilliantly brings the reader in sync with the energy of Luzhin's emotions. For example, " the whole chess field quivered with tension, and over this tension he was sovereign, here gathering in and there releasing electric power." Chess pieces (people) may be poets, actors, even journalists. Small nuances reflect the inner thinking of Luzhin - "Petrov walks with small careful steps trying not to bump into anything"..... Chess, as savior to Luchin's "raison d' etre", eventually leads to his demise all giving the readers an emphatic sigh at the end.


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