Zugzwang

Zugzwang

3.32 (475 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
By (author) 

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Description

Zugzwang: derived from the German, Zug (move) + Zwang (compulsion, obligation). In chess it is used to describe a position in which a player is reduced to a state of utter helplessness. He is obliged to move, but every move only makes his position even worse. St Petersburg, 1914: imposing and shabby, monumental and squalid, and - under its surface of frosty glamour - seething with plots and secret allegiances. On a blustery April day O.V. Gulko, a respected newspaper editor, is murdered in front of a shocked crowd. Five days later Dr Otto Spethmann, famous psychoanalyst, receives a visit from the police. There has been another murder in the city - and somehow he is implicated. He is mystified - and deeply worried, as much for his young, spirited daughter as for himself. He is preoccupied, too, by two new patients: Anna Petrovna, the society beauty plagued with nightmares with whom he is steadily and inappropriately falling in love, and troubled genius Rozental, the brilliant but mentally fragile chess master, due to play the most important competition of his life - the spectacular St Petersburg chess tournament - but on the verge of a complete breakdown. With the city rife with speculation and alarm, Spethmann broods over his own chessboard, its pieces frozen mid-battle, and contemplates the many forces - political, historical, sexual - that are holding him in their graspshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 140 x 220 x 30mm | 421.84g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0747587116
  • 9780747587118
  • 830,917

Review quote

Praise for Havoc, In Its Third Year: 'A gripping novel staggered with betrayal and intrigue and suffused with the hot threat of violence. Bennett's prose is economical, powerful, and often poetic.' The Times 'Bennett's evocation of a corner of England on the edge of an apocalypse is wonderfully done.' Guardian 'Searingly powerful a fable and parable for all times - and ours in particular sublimely written.' Independentshow more

About Ronan Bennett

Ronan Bennett was brought up in Belfast. He is the author of four novels, including the hugely acclaimed The Catastrophist (shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award) and Havoc, in Its Third Year (winner of the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year and longlisted for both the Booker Prize and the IMPAC award). He has also written screenplays for film and television. Zugzwang was serialised weekly in the Observer in 2006. Ronan Bennett lives in London with his family.show more

Rating details

475 ratings
3.32 out of 5 stars
5 11% (50)
4 30% (141)
3 44% (207)
2 15% (69)
1 2% (8)
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