Review: Selection Day

Posted 10 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Selection Day
By: Aravind Adiga
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

From Aravind Adiga, the bestselling, Booker Prize­–winning author of The White Tiger, a dazzling new novel about two brothers in a Mumbai slum who are raised by their obsessive father to become cricket stars, and whose coming of age threatens their relationship, future, and sense of themselves.

Manjunath Kumar is fourteen and living in a slum in Mumbai. He knows he is good at cricket—if not as good as his older brother, Radha. He knows that he fears and resents his domineering and cricket-obsessed father, admires his brilliantly talented sibling, and is fascinated by curious scientific facts and the world of CSI. But there are many things, about himself and about the world, that he doesn’t know. Sometimes it even seems as though everyone has a clear idea of who Manju should be, except Manju himself. When Manju meets Radha’s great rival, a mysterious Muslim boy privileged and confident in all the ways Manju is not, everything in Manju’s world begins to change, and he is faced by decisions that will challenge his understanding of it, as well as his own self.

Filled with unforgettable characters from across India’s social strata—the old scout everyone calls Tommy Sir; Anand Mehta, the big-dreaming investor; Sofia, a wealthy, beautiful girl and the boys’ biggest fan—this book combines the best of The Art of Fielding and Slumdog Millionaire for a compulsive, moving story of adolescence and ambition, fathers, sons, and brothers. Selection Day is Adiga’s most absorbing, big-hearted novel to date, and proves why “with his gripping, amusing glimpse into the contradictions and perils of modern India, Aravind Adiga has cemented his reputation as the preeminent chronicler of his country’s messy present”

Firstly, yeah, this review actually went live by mistake last week when I was still sorting out my hosting and url redirection issues so I rescheduled it for today. Oops!

Anyhow, I had seen Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger around but I had never picked it up to read (will have to change that sometime in the near future). In the meantime Simon & Schuster CA contacted me asking if I was interested in reading this book; it sounded different geographically and otherwise from what I usually read so I agreed in exchange for an honest review. This book will be available on 03 January 2017.

Now, I was pretty excited when I initially agreed to read this book for review: set in India, a story about family with the running theme of cricket, a sport I have never truly understood nor learnt about, but especially the family dynamic aspect of the novel. Unfortunately I found that for most of the novel, the characters and the family were apart so whilst the shadow of each other’s personalities and achievements weighed down on the other characters, there weren’t as many confrontations or scenes together as I thought there would have.

I also wished I understood cricket more–I thought the book would sort of enlighten me a bit about the game and how it works, but I finished the book feeling even more confused than ever before =/

Overall, whilst Selection Day had great ideas and a great premise, I felt like perhaps there was too many things going on: a coming of age story, family dynamics amongst a strict single father and two rivalling sons in dreams and ability, sexuality, class/religion…In the end I just didn’t feel for the story nor truly cared for the characters.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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2 Responses to “Review: Selection Day”

  1. I picked up this book just because it was by Adiga, and I was really disappointed. It was so cricket oriented. I did not live up to his other books, so i’d say give him another try.

    • Sorry to hear that you were disappointed by this book, but at the same time I’m glad I wasn’t the only one! Will definitely check out his other books at some point though, thanks for the encouragement there 🙂

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