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Thread: Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction

  1. #61
    Senior Member Veteran Hubber 19thmay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P_R View Post
    Just finished reading Shehan Karunatilake's Chinaman- the legend of Pradeep Matthew.

    One of the best novels I have read in a loooong time.


    The book is about a spent-force, alcoholic, bitter, cynical cricket journalist W.G.Karunasena trying to write about the man who he thinks is his country's greatest cricketer - one incredibly inventive spinner Pradeep Maththew. Details about him seem hard to find because he seems to have been at odds with the authorities. WG suffering from liver cirrosis, realization that life is slipping through his fingers, purpose, drink, his friendship with fellow cricket-lover Ariyaratne Byrd, his love for his wife are what the book is about. This is not to mention characters like midgets who secretly wire mics into dressing rooms, sour-grapers who run for BCCSL presidency, corrupt politicians, pompous cricketers, insecure commentators, underground betting dens, a match-fixing Tiger liaison-guy, estranged rock-musician son and many such.

    It is fully peppered with part-imaginary inside stories about the the mystical Maththew - who allegedly got the softspoken Ranatunga to sledge back, insisted Sanath play his natural game and not listen to foreign coaches, and blast people who try to mend the action of a certain up-and-coming boy from Kandy. We get a portrait of SL cricket before and around the glory of '96, the ethnic conflict and related politics in the background.

    The sense of humour is just fantastic. It is unrelenting even in the darkest of places, subtle in many places and enjoyably loud in others. And many a poignant moment wrapped in lovely prose.

    Strongly recommended it.

    Plum, methinks you will like this one. Do read and let us know.

    Roshan, you may be able to appreciate more of the local nuances in the book.
    Completed... As I was reading I was googling a lot about Pradeep Sivanathan Mathew. Is it a real character? am not sure but this is a splendid work by Shehan Karunatilaka. I miss W.G, Ari a lot now... Need to revisit later. The two writing styles [ W.G and Shehan's ] were well differentiated. Probably Garfield's long search @ NZ could have been reduced. W.G's final moments were well captured. Many incidents, Many legends..A must read.

    Ken Rutherford incident was real or just his imagination?

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  3. #62
    Moderator Platinum Hubber P_R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 19thmay
    I miss W.G, Ari a lot now.
    Glad you liked Sridhar.
    Extremely well written book.
    uNmai-kaRpanai kalandhu kattu adichchirukkAr.

    Roshan,Flau, padichchAchchA?
    மூவா? முதல்வா! இனியெம்மைச் சோரேலே

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