Booker Prize-winning writer Arvind Adiga’s new novel talks of cricket

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Booker Prize-winning author Aravind Adiga’s new novel talks of cricket and is about two brothers in a Mumbai slum raised by their obsessive father who want them to become stars in the game.

“Selection Day”, published by HarperCollins imprint Fourth Estate, comes five years after Adiga’s second novel “Last Man in Tower” hit book stores. His debut novel “The White Tiger” won him the Man Booker prize in 2008.

Fourteen-year-old Manjunath Kumar knows he is good at cricket – if not as good as his older brother Radha.

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Manju is a “bit of Sandeep Patil, bit of Sachin, bit of Sobers” and he scores lots of runs on the leg side.

Manju had another quality: he could read other people’s minds.

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“It had come to him like one of those special things that some children can do; like being able to move your ears without touching them or curling your tongue up as if it were a dried leaf or flexing your thumb all the way back. If he let himself be still, Manju could tell what other people wanted from him. And he could complete their sentences for them,” the book says.

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Manju knows that he fears and resents his domineering and cricket-obsessed father Mohan Kumar, admires his brilliantly talented sibling, and is fascinated by curious scientific facts and the world of CSI.

But there are many things, about himself and about 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.

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When Manju meets Radha’s great rival, a mysterious Muslim boy privileged and confident in all the ways Manju is not, everything in Manju’s world begins to change, and he is faced by decisions that will challenge his understanding of it, as well as his own self.

(With PTI inputs)

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