On March 12, Gallmeister editions released a new publication of Walter Tevis’ novel, The Lady’s Game. The huge success of the Netflix series gives a chance to the book that tells the story of chess player Beth Harmon.
No, the story of Beth Harmon played by scheming Anya Taylor-Joy in The Lady’s Game is not a true story. Behind the Golden Globe-winning, popular-adored series is the eponymous novel written by American writer Walter Tevis.
A chess enthusiast himself, he imagined from scratch the life of his heroine whose passion for chess was awakened during her childhood in an orphanage. But part of Beth’s childhood is drawn from the author’s personal life, as he revealed in an interview with the New York Times in 1983:
“I was born in San Francisco. When I was young I was diagnosed with heart valve disease and given large doses of medication in a hospital. This is where Beth’s drug addiction comes from in the novel. Writing about her was cathartic. There was pain – I dreamed a lot while writing this part of the story. But artistically, I didn’t allow myself to be indulgent to myself.“
A late translation
Released in 1983 in the United States, Le Jeu de la Dame was not translated until 1990 in France. It was never a bestseller, and the work even went unavailable for almost 20 years. Two years ago, publisher Oliver Gallmeister hesitated to commit when offered to buy the rights to Walter Tevis.
Fortunately, the author’s agent – who died in 1984 – reminds him that Walter Tevis is already at the origin of many books that have given success to the cinema: The Conqueror which gave its title to the film with Paul Newman, his sequel entitled The Color of Money, adapted by Martin Scorsese with Tom Cruise and again with Paul Newman as “Fast Eddie”; and The Man Who Came Elsewhere who gave the film with David Bowie.
“When we saw the phenomenon rise, we decided to bring forward the release of the book scheduled for May and we started working like crazy“, entrusted the editor to our colleagues at Parisian. “We had planned a first printing of 15,000 copies, which is already a lot. And when we received the first orders, it was madness. We decided to move to a print run of 70,000 copies and we had to bring the novel’s release forward to March 12!“
And after having negotiated with Netflix to have a cover which takes again the poster of the series with the pastille “an original Netflix series”, here is the book in the best arrangements to reach the head of the sales… It is besides already 40,000 copies sold in just three weeks!