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The Tournament:
A Novel of the 20th Century

By John Clarke

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ISBN 10: 1401300928
288 pages

A novel of the 20th century in which the greatest thinkers and personalities engage in a two-week tennis tournament.

The most unusual tennis tournament in history is about to start. Albert Einstein is seeded fourth, Chaplin, Freud, and van Gogh are in the top rankings, and seeded first is Tony Chekhov. In all, 128 players — everyone from Louis Armstrong to George Orwell, Gertrude Stein to Coco Chanel — are going to fight it out until the exhilarating final match on center court.

The Tournament is a funny, strange, and beguiling book in which, game by game and match by match, the world’s most creative thinkers put their tennis skills to the ultimate test. And if you read carefully, you’ll be set for life — having learned the cultural history of the 20th century!


“Completely original . . . a crash course in the history of twentieth century culture . . . leaving us shaking with laughter.” —Booklist

“[Clarke has an] ingenious flair for encapsulating a writer, artist or thinker in a few sentences . . . a funny, clever book.” —Washington Post Book World


“If you didn’t know better you’d think this city had gone crazy. The streets of Paris are full of celebrities and media, and out at the stadium the crowds are already huge as players pound the practice courts in preparation for the greatest tournament of

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Buy the Book

The Tournament:
A Novel of the 20th Century