My review will follow the publisher’s blurb.
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” (Newsweek).
Sometimes you challenge yourself with a book that doesn’t fit in your normal genre or goes beyond what you know in your everyday; Selection Day by Aravind Adiga was exactly that for me.
I don’t know anything about Cricket, I’ve never been to Mumbai and wanted to be transported to the city’s sights and sounds. There were some brilliant things in this novel but much of it fell short for me. I wonder if it is because I don’t understand the culture or perhaps it was Adiga’s writing style.
I’ll admit, I struggled getting through this book. What kept me reading ? It was the struggle between father and son and the survival instincts of everyone involved. I needed to know how things would end for Manju. I loved the coming of age portions within the novel, the striking differences in class and the struggle to change fate. The father was the character I hated the most (obviously this kept me reading), I cringed at his plight to “make it” on the backs of his sons.
I’m glad I made it through Selection Day. Even though it is not one of my all-time favorite novels, there is something real special about it. Perhaps because I was reading it through the eyes of a mother and wanted so badly for these two boys to have a loving and safe place to grow up in.
This was my first Araving Adiga novel and although I didn’t fall completely in love with Selection Day, it got me curious enough to want to read more novels set in India. That’s a win in my book.
Are there any books that you’ve struggled to get through but still made an impact on you ?
Selection Day by Aravind Adiga – Available now
Scribner an imprint of Simon and Schuster | 304 pages | ISBN 9781501150838
* a copy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review