The Cincinnati Kid: A Novel

Richard Jessup Jerome Charyn


The Cincinnati Kid: A Novel

The Cincinnati Kid: A Novel

  • Title: The Cincinnati Kid: A Novel
  • Author: Richard Jessup Jerome Charyn
  • ISBN: 9780917657580
  • Page: 434
  • Format: Paperback



He was a skinny kid, just twenty six when it started, with a face set off by a large nose that gave him the look of a hawk He was a tight man Everything about him was close and quiet his gestures were short and clean, with no wasted movement His eyes were bright and hard, the kind of blue you might see in the sky at high noon, if you looked straight up at the sky almoHe was a skinny kid, just twenty six when it started, with a face set off by a large nose that gave him the look of a hawk He was a tight man Everything about him was close and quiet his gestures were short and clean, with no wasted movement His eyes were bright and hard, the kind of blue you might see in the sky at high noon, if you looked straight up at the sky almost white, but still pale, pale blue He had dark yellowish circles under his eyes that rested on his cheekbones where the skin was drawn tight, as if he might have liver trouble from too much drinking, but he was physically sound and the circles came from playing stud poker all day and all night for many years He had been playing in the back room of Hoban s Pool Room and Poker Parlor since Monday at 4 p.m It had started out as fooling around and then, as happened so many times, it developed into a game The others began to drop in and a gig was working It was nickel and dime stuff as long as it was The Kid and The Shooter and Pig, but when Carey and Carmody came in, both of whom bet the Cardinals and had won nicely over the weekend double header, the play moved, deceptively, from nickel and dime to a quarter and a half and then wide open It was Wednesday now, eleven in the morning The game, like an endlessly circling bird, moved with a slow inexorable pace toward the center pot of money that grew magically with each dealt hand revolving hands of cards, accompanied with a musical comment of silver upon silver tossed into the center of the table as the chant was heard, so soft as to be a litany calling on ghostly assistance and deliverance Queens bet A half In Kicking it a half And another half And a half Buck and a half to me, and a half The ritual quickened It was the fourth card Now the whisper and flutter of paper money would wash into the middle of the table Someone dealt The cards sliced through the smoky airless room like silent stealing death And with each card, face up, a chant of destiny from the dealer, for he was the sole instrument in the life of a rambling gambling man, bringing face up for all the world to see the next wonderful secret There is nothing for the gambling man It is all there, sealed in the narrow turn of the next card A five to the queens, a jack to the possible, a nothing to the fours, an ace to the kicker, and the Gun shoots himself a red ten Still queens Queens check The raiser came back with a touch, a breath, feeling his way into those checking queens like a man fumbling in the dark He touched it and then the queens slammed down hard on him Twenty dollars It was the clap of doom Three players dropped out and it was back to the raiser He hesitated He knew three fours could not beat three queens And to make sure though there was another card coming and another chance there were three queens, it would cost him twenty dollars Pig had the fours The Kid had the queens They looked at each other s cards They were past the point as rambling gambling men where they could play each other s faces Pig played the cards There was no hope in playing The Kid And it was not worth twenty dollars to see if The Kid was bluffing He folded The Shooter gathered up the cards and began to shuffle In his huge hands the cards were like summer moths around a light, fluttering, singing, tightening and then disappearing as he cut them and rippled them again The Shooter was acknowledged as the best man with cards along the Mississippi and west to Vegas He looked over at The Kid who was stacking his half dollars They say Lancey is in town, he said softly.


Recent Comments "The Cincinnati Kid: A Novel"

Jessup shows us one man's reach for the brass ring of poker glory in a brisk 154 pages. Similar to the movie only in the broad strokes, the details of this novel make it vastly different work. Unencumbered by the minor characters and sub-plots larded onto Norman Jewison's film, the novel makes The Cincinnati Kid a character, not a caricature.

Great American writing. “Good crowd," Lancey said."Yeah," the Kid said."Nice groceries, too.""And good booze. My brandy must be Napoleon.""Uh-huh.""Yeah.""Nice looking broads.""That's a fact," The Kid said."Ain't that Shooter something? Love to see him skin a deck.""It's downright sexy," The Kid said."He loves 'em.""Like stroking a beautiful tit," The Kid said."That's it - that's it," Lancey said, nodding."Yeah.""You seen him yet?""No. You?""No.""I dint hear he wasn't coming," The Kid said."He [...]

I saw the film many years ago. It was wonderful reading the novel with cast members flashing in my mind:Steve McQueen as Eric "The Kid" StonerEdward G. Robinson as Lancey "The Man" Howard Karl Malden as ShooterAnn-Margret as MelbaTuesday Weld as ChristianJoan Blondell as Lady FingersRip Torn as SladeTheodore Marcuse as FelixMidge Ware as Mrs. SladeJack Weston as PigCab Calloway as YellerJeff Corey as HobanMilton Selzer as SokalKarl Swenson as Mr. RuddÉmile Genest as CajunRon Soble as DannyDub T [...]

I read looking for connections to The Postman Always Rings Twice and The Stranger. Camus was influenced by the former when he wrote the latter and Jessup had the opportunity to spend time with Camus when Jessup was a merchant seaman. I see an influence for about 2/3's of the book and then it going off in its own direction. I felt it was very promising and failed to be the book it could have been. One of the few books where I think the movie is better.

Great readI don't know much about cards, but I found this book impossible to put down. The time, the people, sounds,smells, tastesI was drawn right into this rich world. This book is destined to be one of those I will set aside, only to pick it up again over time when I feel the need to travel to a friendly place. I expect to enjoy it for the rest of my life.

It's set in St. Louis whereas the movie was set in New Orleans. So far the best poker novel I have ever read.


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    Posted by:Richard Jessup Jerome Charyn
    Published :2018-09-14T12:24:30+00:00