To begin with, Adiga’s style is particularly intricate, though well researched and might seem confusing at times. Perhaps for some people this might be an obstacle for properly enjoying Selection Day.
The book is a coming of age story of two boys, their life depicted as real India, where stars are born from the slums and can fall at the first mistake, where parental control can be overwhelming and class hierarchy is defining the norm. Cricket becomes more than a sport, more than a passion, rather the means to succeeding and not disappointing the hopes of the family.
The characters are complex, unusual, psychologically tormented and even immature at times. There is such a pure struggle in Manju as opposed to his brother’s simple mindedness. Adiga managed to beautifully create strong characters which are all suffering at the same time from personal struggles.
The plot is centered around performance and it seems Adiga is the first writer to write about the post-1983 phenomenon in Cricket.
Somehow each character gets a voice and tells his perspective creating a web of thoughts and developments. This I consider a great literary achievement through its complexity. The ending ia flat in a way, do not expect major happy ending, nor peaks of fame for Manju. I did not mind this, because by that time I was immersed into the symbolism of Manju’s actions, understanding finally his deep need for loneliness, stemming from the struggle between loving his dad, loving another boy and loving himself enough to follow his own secret passion
In order to properly grasp the idea of this novel, one should remove all expectations prior to reading it, avoid judgment and be prepared for unusual things to be said and done eventually.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.