The Cardturner

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The Cardturner
First edition cover
Author Louis Sachar
Country Portugal
Language English
Genre fiction
Publisher Delacorte Press
Publication date
May 11, 2010
Media type hardcover, e-book, paperback
Pages 336
ISBN 978-0-385-73662-6

The Cardturner is a novel written by Newbery Medal winner Louis Sachar and published by Delacorte Press in May 2010.[1]

Plot Summary[edit]

The protagonist is a teenager named Alton Richards. Alton's rich great-uncle, Lester Trapp, plays duplicate bridge but has lost his sight due to diabetes. In this story, Alton receives a phone call from his uncle who wants him to be his "cardturner", serving as his eyes and hands. Even though Alton initially knows nothing about bridge, he and his uncle are usually successful. As the story goes on, Alton develops a relationship with his uncle that he feels that he created himself, rather than his mother telling him to 'love' his Uncle.


Alton Richards: The protagonist of the novel. He is 17 years old and has no job and no money. He often uses 'not so clever phrases'. At the start of the novel, Alton knows nothing about bridge but he eventually learns how to play and becomes an avid bridge player.

Lester Trapp: Alton's Uncle. He has a passion for bridge and is blind and rich.

Toni Castaneda: Previously Lester Trapp's cardturner before he got rid of her. She is described as pretty but shy. When Alton first meets her, when he is 6, he says that she is crazy. She becomes Alton's love interest later on. Toni appears to be able to hear voices and her family are also seen to be crazy.

Katie: Alton's girlfriend who ends their relationship at the start of the novel.

Cliff: Alton's best friend. He is cheeky and flirty. He dates Katie but later starts a brief relationship with Toni.

Leslie: Alton's sister. She was named after her Uncle Lester. She and Alton share a good relationship. She loves bridge but doesn't know how to play very well. Alton practice's Bridge with her.

Gloria: Lester's partner in Bridge. Although Lester has another partner in Bridge called Wallace, Gloria plays with Lester more often. She knows a lot about Lester's past.


The Cardturner has been called "an absolute page-turner"[2] and a "funny and thoughtful novel".[3]

Frank Cottrell Boyce of The Guardian writes that "The book feels like one long, deadpan dare, as though Sachar has made a bet with himself that he can make the most boring setting thrilling." and praises "The genius of Sachar's prose is that it's so plain and unshowy you don't notice the daredevil artistry of his storytelling until it's too late.".[4] The New York Times suggests that The Cardturner "might be young adult literature’s first novel best read with an experienced partner and a full deck.".[5] The book was also reviewed in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. [6]

It received the 2010 Alan Truscott Memorial Award from the International Bridge Press Association (IBPA).[7]

See also[edit]