The Chess Garden


Brooks Hansen



What matters won't change.  What changes don't matter.

                                                    -- a vandal pawn from Scarecrow

Praise for The Chess Garden


The Chess Garden is an improbable, brilliant tale about the spiritual life of a 19th century Dutch physician…Mr. Hansen has the precious gift of observation in spades.  His tale becomes, by turns, a Bidlungsroman, a novel of ideas, a love story and – via the twelve letters – a spiritual guide.  Comparisons to Nabokov and Calvino are doubtless in order…But the Chess Garden stands by itself, a marvel of attention to the things of this world, and worlds beyond.

                                                                                    - New York Times Book Review


Like Garcia Marquez, Borges, even Poe, Hansen creates a dangerous and enlightening new world in the Antipodes, a fanciful and often dark place…He is a true inventor of fiction, and a protean, generous one at that.

                                                                                    - Village Voice Literary Supplement


Spellbinding…the novel makes use of fantasy to chronicle a journey of faith.

                                                                                    - Newsday


Reading this novel recalls the experience of being a cherished child listening to the stories of an endlessly inventive parent.  Everything in the stories is new, unexpected, strange, and mysterious…With a richness of invention that makes the world of Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis seem impoverished, Uyterhoeven creates imaginary scene after scene…filled with images of astonishing invention and beauty.

                                                                                    - The Boston Sunday Globe


A rare and exciting work of character and imagination…complex and powerful…extraordinarily well-told.

                                                                                    - Publisher’s Weekly


A wonderfully bewitching compendium of stories, germinated in Arthurian legend, Poe and Carroll

                                                                                    - The Times Literary Supplement


These tales form an allegory not only of the Doctor’s exemplary life but also of the wisdom he has gained in it – a quietude and a benevolence that in today’s world really do seem fabulous.

                                                                                    - The New Yorker


A masterpiece of surreal storytelling…a writer with a rare gift for evocative description.  Hansen deftly weaves allegory and history in this compelling narrative

                                                                                    - Library Journal


The Chess Garden (FSG, 1995) was a New York Times Notable Book and a Publishers' Weekly Selection for Best Book of the Year.