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Selection Day: A Novel af Aravind Adiga

Selection Day: A Novel (udgave 2017)

af Aravind Adiga (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2511581,238 (3.12)9
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. But there are many other things about himself and 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. And when Manju meets Radha's great rival, a mysterious Muslim boy privileged and confident in all the ways Manju is not, he is forced to come to terms with who he really is.… (mere)
Titel:Selection Day: A Novel
Forfattere:Aravind Adiga (Forfatter)
Info:Scribner (2017), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek, Skal læses

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Selection Day af Aravind Adiga


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» Se også 9 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 15 (næste | vis alle)
Aravind Adiga shows us the world of cricket, tense family relationships, and sexuality in coming of age. It's an interesting book that occasionally loses focus or needs to focus on a simpler plot. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
I added this book to my "to-read" list after hearing an interview with the author on NPR. There was a lot about the description of the book that intrigued me, but perhaps what was most interesting was the idea of reading a story with a familiar premise (father drives his sons to succeed in sport) in the unfamiliar setting of modern-day India.

And this is exactly what Aravind Adiga delivers. It's the story of two teenage boys, Radha and Manju Kumar, who have been moved to Mumbai by their father Mohan in the hope that he can use their skills as cricket to escape from their family's poverty. Adiga's story centers on Manju, the younger of the two, who idolizes his older brother and dreams of becoming a forensic scientist. Together they share a loathing at the controlling lifestyle that their father imposes upon both of them and the hope of escape, yet their growing self-awareness and exploration of life in Mumbai sets them on two very paths towards adulthood.

Such a story is hardly a novel one, but uses it to explore themes in a very different setting -- a vibrant, cricket-obsessed Mumbai, with stark divides of wealth and poverty. It's a fluid world populated with a solid cast of supporting characters, from the cricket scout Tommy Boy desperate to define his legacy by finding a great player to the handsome middle-class Javed, who represents both the main competition for the brothers and the allure of a different life. What they all have in common is that they are all striving in one way or another -- the adults striving for wealth through the children they try to control like chess pieces, the children who seek to break free from that control and discover themselves before the world opening up before them. It is their growing realization of their power to determine their own fate that drives the story, even if it leads them in some very familiar directions.

And that is what disappointed me about the novel: the predictability of Adiga's plot. The whole story unfolds in an extremely formulaic fashion, with the ending telegraphed to its readers well before reach the book's midpoint. Perhaps my expectations were excessive, but I hoped for something more from an author who has won the Man Booker Prize for his previous work. What he has written is an enjoyable novel about two boys living in a world of in which the promise of youth intermixes with the desperation of poverty, but I couldn't help finishing it thinking that it could have been so much more than it was. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
About two-thirds of this is excellent. Two brothers seem destined for cricketing greatness, if they can just navigate the maze of politics that is the Mumbai junior cricket circle, and the obsessive demands and bullying of their slightly deranged, but vastly ambitious, chutney selling father. The older brother, Radha, seems to be the most likely to succeed and the one who wants it more. His younger brother Manju, is perhaps the more naturally talented, but perhaps he doesn't want it; he's more interested in science, CSI Las Vegas, and has his head turned by the attractive, rich, Muslim cricketing prodigy, Javed Ansari - who gives cricket up to pursue a less conventional lifestyle.

As the brothers weave their way towards Selection Day, the day that the Mumbai U-19 team is picked, the make or break day for an aspiring Mumbai cricketer, Aravind Adiga paints a picture of modern Mumbai - a city that I personally love for all its energy and chaos - through larger than life characters such as Anand Mehta, the would be sports entrepreneur, Tommy Sir, the much respected, at least in his own estimation, talent scout, and of course Mohan Kumar, chutney raja, a figure of fun but admirable in his grit and determination for his children's success, less admirable in the methods he uses.

So far then, so good. Its insightful, often very funny, and an absorbing portrait of a a very male world - there's scarcely a female voice here. But then - something happens. The plot falters, the main characters' actions and motivations become unclear, the narrative spell is broken. "Why?" the reader keeps asking, "why is he doing that?" . A Part Two - set eleven years after Selection Day - seems like a last minute addition, and it serves less to clarify than to further confuse. In his acknowledgments the author says that it took him 5 years to finish the book, and we may speculate that getting the ending right was one of the reasons it took so long. But unfortunately I don't think it works

In summary, this is mostly excellent, but runs out of steam and leaves the reader somewhat unsatisfied at the end ( )
  Opinionated | Nov 1, 2019 |
Selection Day, the newest novel by Booker Prize winning Aravind Adigo tells the story of a poor, abusive father who has driven away his wife and dedicated himself to making his two sons profession cricket players. At first it seems the older brother, Radha, will be the one to make it to Selection Day, but soon it appears that in fact his younger brother Manju has the natural build and ability. Adigo easily weaves in and out of the minds of all three characters plus a legendary coach and a sports agent, providing a multi-sided narrative of the boys' life and the city of Mumbai. In the slums where Manju and Radha grow up, cricket is the only escape to a better life. Their talent and hard work get them accepted into the famous Ali Weinberg International School where the coach hones in on talent. "Chubby, mustached Pramod Sawant, now in his early forties, was a man of some importance in Bombay cricket—head coach at the Ali Weinberg International School, runner-up in last year’s Harris Shield. Head Coach Sawant was, in other words, a fat pipe in the filtration system that sucks in strong wrists, quick reflexes, and supple limbs from every part of the city, channels them through school teams, club championships, and friendly matches for years and years, and then one sudden morning pours them out into an open field where two or maybe three new players will be picked for the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team."
The other thread of the narrative is the wavering confusion of Manju's desires, both sexually and athletically. An attractive adversary, Javed Ansari, tries to lure Manju away from the sport to pursue college and an alternative life style. Manju's decision becomes the central conflict of the story.
I will be interested in reading other novels by Adigo and in seeing Netflicks version of this story.
Wash. Post
There’s nothing boring here, though. Adiga’s paragraphs bounce along like a ball hit hard down a dirt street. One gets the general direction, but the vectors of his story can change at any moment as we chase after these characters. They’re all men and boys enamored of cricket, “the triumph of civilization over instinct” — or a fraud perpetrated against impoverished kids who have no options.

Good lines:
Revenge is the capitalism of the poor: Conserve the original wound, defer immediate gratification, fatten the first insult with new insults, invest and reinvest spite, and keep waiting for the perfect moment to strike back.

between a store that sold golden sporting trophies and another that sold hard liquor in 180 ml “quarters,” like the starting and finishing points of the average Indian male’s trajectory in life,

We’re missing about ten million women from our population, due to female infanticide. This extraordinary fact is known to you, I assume? Do not make any business decision in India until you familiarize yourself with our male-to-female sex ratio, the result of decades of selective abortion. I predict that young Indian males, lacking women to marry or even to mate with, are likely to become progressively more deranged. This is already visible. Now, only one thing on earth can save us from all this rogue Hindu testosterone. Cri-cket.

“A cock is this: When you’re a boy, it’s your manhood. When you’re a man, it’s your boyhood.”

In the next few minutes, Anand Mehta came up with the following observations about cricket: that it was a fraud, and at the most fundamental level. Only ten countries play this game, and only five of them play it well. If we had any self-respect, we’d finally grow up as a people and play football. No: Let’s not expose ourselves to real competition, much safer to be in a “world cup” against St. Kitts and Bangladesh. Self-obsession without self-belief: the very definition of the Indian middle class, which is why it loves this fraud sport.

Radha had the fastidious good looks of the perennially unemployed rake: His long black hair was gelled and brushed back until it curled up around his neck, he wore a silver ring in his left ear, and looked like a prince out of a Sanskrit romance. His beautiful irises, those “film-star eyes,” were now battered in by drink, but Manju could still see their color.

A son’s true opinion of his parents is written on the back of his teeth. Radha, who had gnashed his just thinking about Mohan Kumar so often that his upper incisors had moved from the pressure, opening up a gap between them and ruining his once perfect smile (one more thing he blamed his father for), bit his teeth. ( )
  novelcommentary | Jul 22, 2019 |
Selection Day: A Novel Aravind Adiga (Author), Sartaj Garewal (Narrator)
Cricket and the white uniforms worn by the heroes of the game are an obsession in India. It is also believed to be the path out of poverty for young boys, like sports is in the United States, and it is the main thread of the novel. The two young Kumar brothers, one 14 and the other not quite 16, have been raised by a slightly unhinged father to be the best cricket players in the world. Their mother left them shortly after they moved to the slums of Mombai. The oldest son, Radha, is told from the get-go that he is wonderful; he is the best at cricket. The younger son, Manju, is told that he is second best. This is Mohan’s wish for both of them when it comes to cricket. He is a father with rigid and quite peculiar rules for them to follow, in order to become the greatest at cricket. He has odd health beliefs and holds weekly inspections of their bodies to see if they are remaining immature and undeveloped. The best cricket players are short, compact not yet sexual or promiscuous in any way, as far as Mohan is concerned.
Radha, the elder brother, dreams of being picked to play for India on Selection Day, of being the greatest Batsman as he has been promised. Manju, on the other hand, is conflicted. He dreams of going to college and becoming a scientist. When the competition becomes so fierce that one brother is pitted against the other, the family begins to come apart. When the second son becomes the greater of the two, the older descends into uncontrollable anger after which he runs away. The youngest becomes the better cricket player, but he is unsure of who or what he is. His sexuality remains an enigma to him. Brother turns against brother and son against father for forcing them into a life that is not fulfilling their dreams.
The father becomes involved with a talent scout who is influential in the cricket game. He makes it possible for them to move from the slums into decent housing in Mombai. All the people involved are interested in their bottom line, their end profit, and the boys are simply the means to that end. They are the tools of the trade. They all want to own the next great cricket player and to make money off his talent. The promise is made that Radha will be chosen on Selection Day to play for India. It is, however, several years away, and in the intervening years, the boys struggle with coming of age.
The brothers, each with different dreams, begin to reject and dislike their father intensely for the pressure he has put upon them to succeed, and their fear of failing him is mind numbing. They have been taught to have but one goal, and to pursue it with maddening effort, to become the greatest cricket players of all time, to be chosen to play for India on Selection Day.
Both brothers have the capacity for violence and cruelty. Hints of that kind of anger and that kind of irrational behavior having existed in other family members in the past, is revealed in stories related in the narrative. As they both come of age, the older brother matures and outgrows the typical successful image of the Cricket body. He begins to be a lesser star. The younger brother, on the other hand, much to his dismay, is able to succeed beyond his wildest dreams. He is obedient and practices. He pleases his father and his sponsors, but disappoints himself.
Manju has one friend who has given up the sport. He is wealthy and he constantly whispers in his ear and advises him to leave both his father and the cricket game. He tells him to come and live with him, to study and go to college and follow his own dreams. However, this friend also has a questionable nature and sexuality, a sexuality which in India is punished by a life in prison sentence.. As Manju struggles with his own thoughts on male and female attraction, this friend, Javed, is both a positive and negative influence on his behavior.
The novel is written in an authentic Indian voice. The reader has the perfect accent and intonation to impart the subtle humor and the often somber moments, with clarity.
The two brothers, badgered by their father, are brought up with Cricket as the most important effort of their lives. Their father’s obsession with their success to lift him out of poverty, coupled with his often bizarre beliefs, creates a picture of a country driven by Cricket, first and foremost, rather than by the thought of education to lift the masses out of the depths of their despair. Although the humor is frequent, it is sometimes tongue in cheek. What I understood made me smile. What I didn’t understand made me want to learn more about the situation.
There are folk tales strewn within the story, and one of the book’s truisms told by the father, Mohan, is that Indians are like elephants, their minds are chained to their masters, they cannot think on their own, cannot think for themselves, do as they are told. The fierce competition turned brother against brother and son against father because they were not allowed to think for themselves. Like the question posed about why boiling water turns to ice before cold water does, Manju’s confusion about his sexuality seems to remain an unknown as well when the final page is turned.. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Jun 9, 2018 |
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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. But there are many other things about himself and 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. And when Manju meets Radha's great rival, a mysterious Muslim boy privileged and confident in all the ways Manju is not, he is forced to come to terms with who he really is.

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