Title: The Cardturner: A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker
Author: Louis Sachar
First published May 11, 2010
336 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780385736626 (ISBN10: 0385736622)
Louis Sachar, the acclaimed author of the Newbery Medal-winning novel HOLES, presents his latest work of young adult fiction, THE CARDTURNER. This novel delves into the complexities of human nature through the story of Alton Richards, a high school student who has been tasked with the job of being his blind great-uncle Lester’s cardturner.
As Alton spends his summer driving Lester to his bridge club, he finds himself drawn into a world of intrigue, competition, and mystery. He becomes fascinated by the game of bridge, his uncle’s companions, and the beautiful Toni Castaneda.
As he tries to find meaning in his own life, Alton grapples with the difference between what he knows and what he thinks he knows. Louis Sachar’s witty observations and inventive storytelling explore the elusive disparities between perception and reality, inspiring readers to question their own assumptions.
THE CARDTURNER is a captivating novel that will keep you engaged until the very end.
About the Author
Louis Sachar is a beloved American author of children’s books. He was born in East Meadow, New York in 1954 and later moved to Tustin, California at the age of nine.
Louis attended the University of California at Berkeley and graduated as an economics major in 1976. In the following year, he wrote his first book, Sideways Stories from Wayside School.
He worked at a sweater warehouse during the day and wrote at night. However, he was fired from the job almost a year later.
Louis then decided to attend law school at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
While in law school, he published his first book. Louis graduated in 1980 and worked part-time as a lawyer for eight years while continuing to write children’s books.
Eventually, his books started selling well enough that he was able to quit practicing law. He married his wife Carla in 1985, who was the inspiration behind the counselor in one of his books.
They have a daughter named Sherre, who was born in 1987.
Louis Sachar’s The Cardturner: A Novel About a King, a Queen, and a Joker, published on May 11, 2010, is a masterful blend of humor, drama, and wisdom, one that effortlessly tackles important issues while still entertaining and engaging readers. Sachar – the author of the beloved children’s classic Holes – demonstrates his skills as a storyteller and craftsman in this book, weaving a spellbinding tale that will appeal to readers of any age.
The Cardturner tells the story of Alton Richards, a teenager who reluctantly agrees to become his blind, wealthy great-uncle Lester’s cardturner – someone who assists with the shuffling, dealing, and bidding in a high-stakes game of bridge. As he assists his uncle, Alton discovers that there is far more to bridge than just a simple card game: he learns about the complex interactions between players, the intricate strategies required to win, and the emotional highs and lows that come with each hand.
Along the way, Alton also learns about his uncle’s past, including his involvement in a lawsuit against a bridge club and his efforts to improve the lives of those around him.
Sachar is a gifted writer, and his prose in The Cardturner is elegant and precise.
He skillfully balances humor and drama, injecting wit and levity into even the most serious scenes. Throughout the book, Sachar masterfully explores the complex relationships between the characters.
Each one is fleshed out and given a unique personality, complete with flaws, strengths, and quirks. Even secondary characters, such as Alton’s crush, Toni Castaneda, are given time to shine and showcase their own stories.
Moreover, Sachar uses the game of bridge as a metaphor for life, deftly showing how the lessons learned at the card table can be applied to situations in the real world. He does this in a way that never feels contrived or heavy-handed, but rather natural and organic.
The Cardturner also touches on themes of race, class, and disability, exploring the prejudices and biases that still exist in society today.
In terms of flaws and limitations, The Cardturner could have benefited from a tighter plot structure.
At times, the pace drags, and certain chapters feel extraneous or repetitive. Additionally, some readers may find the book’s premise – a teenager learning to play bridge – to be uninteresting or unrelatable.
However, these issues are relatively minor compared to the book’s many strengths.
Overall, The Cardturner is an excellent novel and well-deserving of high praise.
It will appeal to readers of all ages and backgrounds, but especially to those who enjoy coming-of-age stories, character-driven narratives, and books that explore complex social issues. Sachar’s prose is beautiful and engaging, and his characters are unforgettable.
This book is a must-read for anyone who loves a good story.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.