Books Of The Year #2: Chinaman

3

December 19, 2012 by markstani

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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.

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3 thoughts on “Books Of The Year #2: Chinaman

  1. Tony says:

    This is one I’d like to get to at some point, especially as I’m a big cricket fan.

    The Sri Lankans could really do with him in the current series too ūüėČ

  2. Jennifer says:

    This sounds fascinating… love your description of the twists and turns. Need to check this one out!

  3. […] the 2012 Commonwealth Writers Prize,¬† Chinaman¬†was also chosen by ¬†Mark Staniforth as one of his Books of the Year¬†and I recommend it […]

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