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The King Is Dead

Walter Tevis

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North America, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Classic fiction (pre c 1945), Short stories

Walter Tevis is widely regarded as a master for both his gritty poolhall novels and his brilliant rendering of the world of competitive chess. This long overdue collection establishes Tevis's rightful place as a maestro of the short form, as well. Including previously unpublished stories from journals and magazines, this entertaining collection showcases Tevis's characteristic perceptiveness, empathy, and range.

In one story, a man receives a phone call from his future self and follows their instructions to unpredictable, calamitous results. In another, a famous actor and a young actress showcase their talent for acting both on and off the stage. There are five short stories set in poolhalls, including one that features Fast Eddie Felson and another that was the basis for the novel The Hustler. Here also is his first fictional foray into chess, with a ranked chess player finding fellowship in the prison yard with another player.

In all of them, Tevis reminds us again and again why his writing has long been revered for its roving curiosity and innate humanity.

A W&N Essential

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Walter Tevis

Walter Tevis was an American novelist and short story writer. Whilst a student at the University of Kentucky, Tevis worked in a pool hall and published a story about the game for an English class. He would later revisit his love for pool in the novels THE HUSTLER (1959) and THE COLOR OF MONEY (1984), both of which would be adapted into multiple award-winning films starring Paul Newman. Among his other works, THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1963) and MOCKINGBIRD (1980) are considered masterpieces of science fiction. Tevis died in 1984.

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