A magnificent coming-of-age novel about two young boys from Mumbai, raised by their tyrannical father to be the number one and number two batsmen in the world, that tackles the weighty themes of corruption, class, sexuality and religion with extraordinary elegance.
When Selection Day opens, seven-year-old Manju is overshadowed by the supreme cricketing prowess of his brother Radha, but still a tantalising prospect for a prestigious gatekeeper named Tommy Sir, who brings both boys to the attention of a venture capitalist, which suits their father; he is determined to maximise the commercial potential of his sons. Readers familiar with the real-life story of cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli — the former a cricketing legend, the latter retired at 24 — might think they know where the story is headed, but Adiga is far too an intelligent writer than that to simply emulate history. As Manju and Radha get older, they begin to rebel against their father’s strict rules, and cavort with the temptations of youth, which threaten to derail their journey towards stardom. And just when you think the narrative is going to zig, it zags; and it feels right, and true.
Honestly, one of the best books I’ve read this year, or any year.