Book review: Selection Day

By Aravind Adiga
Published by Picador

Synopsis: 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…

How did this book end up in my hands? I bought this book during a bookshop crawl in London as I feel it is important to support independent businesses.

Was it a page-turner? The writing style of this book is peculiar and jumps about quite a lot so it doesn’t lend itself to a fast-paced reading experience. To be fair, I didn’t even particularly need to know what happened to the two brothers as long as I could keep savouring the author’s beautiful language.

Did the book meet my expectations? This is a tricky question. On the one hand, I know nothing about cricket and I’m not particularly interested in it either. On the other hand, I think that Aravind Adiga could write a whole book about shelling peas and it would be the most engrossing book ever! So, while at times I wasn’t even clear what was going on, I found it as fascinating and engaging as expected.

Three words to describe it. Insightful. Passionate. Evocative.

Do I like the cover? I do, yes. I love the warm colours and the old-fashioned look.

Have I read any other books by the same author? Yes, I read The White Tiger two years ago and I still remember it vividly. It made it to my top 5 reads that year and I highly recommend it! 

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