December 19, 2012 by markstani
It says: Retired sportswriter W.G. Karunasena is dying. He will spend his final months drinking arack, making his wife unhappy, ignoring his son and tracking down Pradeep S. Mathew, a spin bowler who has mysteriously disappeared and who W.G. considers ‘the greatest cricketer to walk the earth’. On his quest to find this unsung genius, W.G. uncovers a coach with six fingers, a secret bunker below a famous stadium, a Tamil Tiger warlord, and startling truths about Sri Lanka, cricket and himself.
I say: ‘Chinaman’ breaks just about every literary convention going: there are false starts, blind alleys and contradictions, and by the time you reach the reality-stretching coincidence which heralds this truly brilliant book’s final pages, it will seem entirely fitting. ‘Chinaman’ indicates that Karunatilaka’s talent will sustain much longer than that of Mathew ever did, or might have done.