Timothy Briggs, a flaky chess genius and college dropout, takes on the world's smartest computer chess program, ANNDY. In reporting this championship tournament at MIT, the media paint Timothy as waiflike and irresistible. Meanwhile, the confused young man identifies with Reverend Rabbitt, a televangelist who bleeds profusely on prime time, and with Ma-chan, a 12-year-old Japanese prodigy who writes music that might have done Mozart proud. To this media-dominated environment, add an overprotective mother, two girlfriends, an acidulous older brother, a possessive chess trainer and a messianic computer scientist who wears green shoes. The result is a tricky house of mirrors in which private and public selves, real and fictive events, collide and overlap. Leithauser ( Equal Distance ) sets this sophisticated entertainment in the form of a novel written in the year 2025, looking back at the tournament of 1995. This distancing device sharpens his observation of the weakening of family ties, the commercialization of religion and the media's shaping of reality. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989 Release date: 01/01/1989 Genre: Fiction
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