The Hustler (novel)

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First edition (Publ. Harpers)

The Hustler is a 1959 novel by American writer Walter Tevis. It tells the story of a young pool hustler, Edward "Fast Eddie" Felson, who challenges the legendary Minnesota Fats.[1]

The Hustler was adapted into a 1961 film of the same title, starring Paul Newman as Fast Eddie and Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats; the film was a critical and commercial success and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards. It remains widely regarded as a classic.

Plot summary[edit]

After losing to Fats, Eddie could spiral down to the scrapheap, but he meets Bert Gordon, a stakehorse. Bert teaches him about winning, or more particularly about losing. Tautly written, it is a treatise on how someone, with all of the skills, can lose if he "wants" to lose; how a loser is beaten by himself, not by his opponent; and how he can learn to win, if he can look deeply enough into himself.

The book was followed by the sequel The Color of Money.

Printing history[edit]

Available editions include:

  • 1976: ISBN 0-380-00860-2
  • 1979: ISBN 1-56849-044-5
  • 2006: ISBN 1-56025-473-4


  1. ^ 1972, Johnston City Hustling with Minnesota Fats