The Noble Hustle

The Noble Hustle Cover

The Noble Hustle

Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death

By Colson Whitehead

Doubleday Books, Hardcover, 9780385537056, 256pp.

Publication Date: May 6, 2014

Description

The Noble Hustle is Pulitzer finalist Colson Whitehead's hilarious memoir of his search for meaning at high stakes poker tables, which the author describes as Eat, Pray, Love for depressed shut-ins.

On one level, The Noble Hustle is a familiar species of participatory journalism--a longtime neighborhood poker player, Whitehead was given a $10,000 stake and an assignment from the online online magazine Grantland to see how far hecould get in the World Series of Poker. But since it stems from the astonishing mind of Colson Whitehead (MacArthur Award-endorsed ), the book is a brilliant, hilarious, weirdly profound, and ultimately moving portrayal of--yes, it sounds overblown andridiculous, but really --the human condition.

After weeks of preparation that included repeated bus trips to glamorous Atlantic City, and hiring a personal trainer to toughen him up for sitting at twelve hours a stretch, the author journeyed to the gaudy wonderland that is Las Vegas the world's greatest Leisure Industrial Complex -- to try his luck in the multi-million dollar tournament. Hobbled by his mediocre playing skills and a lifelong condition known as anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure) Whitehead did not spoiler alert - win tens of millions of dollars. But he did chronicle his progress, both literal and existential, in this unbelievably funny, uncannily accurate social satire whose main target is the author himself.
Whether you ve been playing cards your whole life, or have never picked up a hand, you re sure to agree that this book contains some of the best writing about beef jerky ever put to paper.



About the Author
COLSON WHITEHEAD is theNew York Timesbestselling author ofZone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, andone collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, a recipient of aWhiting Writers' Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship, he lives in New York City."


Praise For The Noble Hustle

"Whitehead serves up an engrossing mix of casual yet astute reportage and hang-dog philosophizing, showing us that, for all of poker’s intricate calculations and shrewd stratagems, everything still hangs on the turn of a card."
   - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"As a novelist of considerable range, Whitehead consistently writes about more than he's ostensibly writing about...here writing a poker book that should strike a responsive literary chord with some who know nothing about the game...Engaging in its color and character."
-Kirkus Reviews



NPR
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

Colson Whitehead's book, now out in paperback, was born of an assignment to write about the World Series of Poker. It's a sharp observational tale of poker: those who play it and how it changed him. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

NPR
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Colson Whitehead's new book was born of an assignment to write about the World Series of Poker for Grantland. It's a sharp observational tale of the game, those who play it and how it changed him. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

NPR
Saturday, May 3, 2014

Novelist Colson Whitehead is also a devoted poker player. And in 2011 Grantland gave him the assignment to write about the World Series of Poker � by playing in it. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.