Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review: The Cardturner

The Cardturner
Louis Sachar
2010; Delacorte; ISBN 978-0-385-73662-6 (hardcover)

Summary: Alton's great-uncle Trapp is blind, rich, and a great bridge player. When he needs a new cardturner-someone to help him play-Alton's parents make him take the job. At first, Alton is unsure of his uncle and confused by bridge. But slowly, Alton starts to understand both his uncle and the cards being played. He's helped by shy, pretty Toni, the girl that Trapp taught to play bridge. Trapp's goal is to make it to the national bridge championships. When that becomes impossible, it'll be up to Alton and Toni to play for Trapp.

Only Louis Sachar could make a novel about bridge interesting and comprehensible. The sections with extensive bridge information are marked off, so a reader can just skim the rules and know enough to understand the story. In Alton's droll, matter-of-fact voice, the rules of bridge are explained while allowing the story to continue. The relationship between Trapp and Alton is the heart of the novel, and it shows the power of intergenerational relationships. Sachar's talent for gentle humor and an eye for personal dynamics create a charming novel. Use The Cardturner as the flip side to poker novels like Pete Hautman's All-In.

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