Game of the Gods


Product Details

$15.99  $14.87
World Editions
Publish Date
5.0 X 8.0 X 0.8 inches | 0.64 pounds

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About the Author

PAOLO MAURENSIG was born in Gorizo, and lives in Udine, Italy. A bestselling author, he debuted in 1993 with The Lüneburg Variation, translated into over twenty languages. His novels include Canone Inverso, The Guardian of Dreams, and The Archangel of Chess. For his novel Theory of Shadows, he won the Bagutta Prize. A Devil Comes to Town, previously published by World Editions, is a brilliant, satirical novella about literary publishing. Game of the Gods is Maurensig's latest novel and was awarded the prestigious Premio Scanno 2019 Literary Award.

ANNE MILANO APPEL, based in California, has translated works by a number of leading Italian authors for a variety of publishers in the US and UK. Her most recent translations include works by the award-winning Antonio Scurati and Paolo Maurensig. Her awards include the Italian Prose in Translation Award, the John Florio Prize for Italian Translation, and the Northern California Book Award for Translation. Her website is:


"Italian novelist Maurensig spins an intriguing historical narrative of Indian chess master Malik Mir Sultan Khan (1903-1966)...Maurensig's tragic tale of genius and destiny duly salvages a forgotten hero." --Publishers Weekly

"Brisk footwork and dazzling prose rendered into English by Anne Milano Appel...with this bold and compelling act of historical imagination, Maurensig imbues another great but marginalised figure of chess history with a capacious interiority and a history as intricate and elegant as the most calculated chess games; a minor history played against and with the grand History of imperialism, fascism, and migration." --Asymptote Journal

"Game of the Gods is fast and consistently entertaining." --Complete Review

"In Game of the Gods, Paolo Maurensig returns, as in some of his finest work, to the past and to chess. In it, he tells a tale--partly inspired by that of a chess player from British India nearly a century ago--of a sudden, surprising champion plucked briefly from obscurity only to disappear into a life where the unexpected still has some games in store. This haunting, delicately written novel, which reads, at times, like myth or fable, is a story of genius, colonialism, and class, and of a curious fatalism that lingers in the memory long after the last move is made." --Andrew Stuttaford, Contributing Editor, National Review

"If the overused word 'originality' has meaning, it can especially be applied to Paolo Maurensig, who since his first brilliant novel, The Luneburg Variation, has created a narrative universe all the more imaginative as it is rationally disturbing, a departure from the ordinary." --Claudio Magris, award-winning author of Blameless

"With his elegant writing, and via an intriguing chess game, Maurensig relates the life and deeds of an extraordinary character lost to history." --Il Messaggero

"Maurensig has not only given us another great character from the enchanting world of chess―in these pages we find the spirit of an entire era. This novel has deep historical roots, numerous surprising twists, and contains infinite worlds in which karma provides many sharp turns to existence." --Gli amanti dei libri

"The passion for the game of chess, in Game of the Gods, is linked to themes of another order: the scenario of war, the element of racial distinctions and colonialism, the different conception of life between East and West. The elegance with which Maurensig manages to tie these into the plot is another of the typical elements of this author, and a merit of this book: a fluid novel that weaves historical reality and literary inventiveness in an astounding and fascinating way." --Libri la mia vita

"Game of the Gods, the fictionalized story of Sultan Khan, who truly was one of the strongest chess players of his time, is of such beauty that it leaves one astonished, even in the face of sadder and more painful events." --L come Libro

Praise for A Devil Comes to Town

"A Devil Comes to Town is a brilliant form of torture...a huge amount of fun." --Lisa Grgas for The Literary Review

"There's a lot to savor in this bleakly satirical novel, from the description of an isolated town teeming with writers of varying talents to a unique spin on the idea of devils (as opposed to the devil) sowing chaos in the world. The nested structure nods to both nineteenth-century Gothic tales and postmodern lit--which in and of itself suggests the sensibility of this narrative of diabolical interests and literary ambition." --Tobias Carroll for Words Without Borders

"This nested narrative is an entertaining exploration of the manifold powers--creative, confessional, corrupting--of fiction." --Publisher's Weekly

"Maurensig gives us a masterfully constructed gothic horror story designed to keep aspiring writers up at night. A macabre little Alpine horror story elevated by masterful storytelling and language." --Kirkus Reviews

"Maurensig highlights the traps in the desire for literary fame and the resultant money...Only a spoilsport would disclose the ending of this moral fable that makes fun of the scribblers of banalities, but also examines evil that is frightening because it is contagious - like the rabies spread by invading foxes whose cries are heard at crucial moments in the narrative. It wouldn't be a Maurensig if the entertaining fable did not have dark seams." --The Sydney Morning Herald