“Selection Day” by Aravind Adiga (Picador, 2016)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Review by Ben " Chalky " White
Brilliantly written by one of the current modern literary stars (he won the Man Booker Prize in 2008), this is one of the few “cricket novels” I’ve read. It’s about the very competitive environment of youth cricket in India – Mumbai to be exact – where boys are picked from a young age and developed into 16 year old cricketers ready for “Selection Day”. To be selected for Mumbai. It’s the Holy Grail for these boys but often, sadly, more so for their fathers with the prestige it can bring to a family.
This story follows the younger brother (Manju) of the current school system superstar (Radha) in his quest to try and follow in his sibling’s footsteps. The fact he is better and smarter and more relaxed than his older brother, leads to his bullying and, where the novel takes a real twist, slight homophobic tendencies (towards himself). It’s a myriad story of cricket, school, growing up, life, girls and peer pressure but one that is a rite of passage for many Indian youths. No wonder India are currently top of the tree in world cricket – the pressure put on these young boys requires only the very very best to survive and indeed thrive. But at a cost.
8 Chalk Marks
BY THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR OF THE WHITE TIGER 'The most exciting novelist writing in English today' A. N. Wilson Manjunath Kumar is fourteen. He knows he is good at cricket - if not as good as his elder brother Radha. He knows that he fears and resents his domineering and cricket-obsessed father, admires his brilliantly talented sibling and is fascinated by the world of CSI and by curious and interesting scientific facts. But there are many things, about himself and about the world, that he doesn't know ...Sometimes it seems as though everyone around him has a clear idea of who Manju should be, except Manju himself. When Manju begins to get to know Radha's great rival, a boy as privileged and confident as Manju is not, everything in Manju's world begins to change and he is faced with decisions that will challenge both his sense of self and of the world around him ...
About The Author
Aravind Adiga was born in 1974 in Madras (now Chennai) and grew up in Mangalore in the south of India. He was educated at Columbia University in New York and Magdalen College, Oxford. His articles have appeared in publications including the New Yorker, the Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and the Times of India. His first novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2008. A second novel, Last Man in Tower, was published in 2011. - See more at: http://www.picador.com/books/selection-day#sthash.stF09mJM.dpuf
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