A BACKHANDED GIFT, a novel by Marshall Jon Fisher, the author of the celebrated book A TERRIBLE SPLENDOR about the famous Don Budge-Gottfried von Cramm Davis Cup match from 1937, is the latest book to be published by New Chapter Press.
A BACKHANDED GIFT is a funny, moving literary work with tennis serving as the backdrop. The book tells the story of Robert Cherney, a 30-year-old aspiring writer, who has left New York City for a job teaching tennis in Munich in the late 1980s. Aside from private lessons, he coaches the Mattathias Club men’s league team, a motley group of neurotics whose eccentricities seem exacerbated by their situation as Jews living in Germany. They have made fortunes in postwar Germany but are hounded daily by the ghosts of the past and wracked with guilt over living so blithely among their parents’ tormentors. One of the players on Robert’s team is his best friend in Munich, Max Altmann, a successful and wealthy young businessman who is also Robert’s employer, landlord, provocateur, and guide to Munich’s nightlife. In addition to trying to figure out his life and not go crazy teaching tennis, Robert is trying to forget Lexa, the focus of years of erotic obsession back in New York. Helping him are Ingrid, a 40-ish Mattathias member and tennis pupil, and Veronique, a Jewish graduate student whom Max tries to set up with Robert. Love, tennis, sex, frustrated artistic ambition, and the dilemma of being a German Jew are all ingredients of this literary delight that is at times serious and comedic.
A BACKHANDED GIFT is available now in paperback or as an e-book at Amazon (http://www.mailermailer.com/rd?http://www.amazon.com/A-Backhanded-Gift-Novel/dp/1937559149/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355685261&sr=8-1&keywords=A+backhanded+gift) and via other major outlets
Fisher’s most well-known previous work is the PEN award-winning “A Terrible Splendor: Three Extraordinary Men, A World Poised for War, and the Greatest Tennis Match Ever Played,” which was published to great acclaim in 2009. “Rich and rewarding,” wrote the Wall Street Journal of “A Terrible Splendror,” while the Washington Post called it “enthralling…a gripping tale.”
Fisher was born in 1963, grew up in Miami, and graduated from Brandeis University, where he played varsity tennis. He worked as a sportswriter in Miami and a tennis pro in Munich before moving to New York City, where he received an M.A. in English at City College. In 1989, he moved to Boston and began working as a freelance writer and editor. He has written on a variety of topics for The Atlantic Monthly, ranging from wooden tennis rackets to internet fraud, and his work has also appeared in Harper’s, Discover, DoubleTake, and other publications, as well as The Best American Essays 2003. His book “The Ozone Layer” was selected by The New York Public Library as one of the best books for teenagers of 1993. His book (with his father, David E. Fisher) “Tube: The Invention of Television” was published by Counterpoint in 1996 and by Harcourt Brace in paperback in 1997. Their second book together, “Strangers in the Night: A Brief History of Life on Other Worlds” (Counterpoint 1998), was selected by The New York Public Library as one of the 25 “Books to Remember” of 1998. Fisher now lives in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts with his wife and two sons. You can read more about him at www.marshalljonfisher.com.
Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf (www.CliffRicheyBook.com), “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryBook.com), “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According To Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “People’s Choice Guide Cancun” by Eric Rabinowitz, and “Lessons from the Wild” by Shayamal Vallabhjee, among others.