A moving and beautifully observed new novel, of adolescence, ambition and self-realization, of fathers and sons, set in contemporary Bombay, by the Man Booker Prize winning author of The White Tiger and Last Man in Tower.
Aravind Adiga was born in 1974 in Madras (now Chennai) and grew up in Mangalore in the south of India. He was educated at Columbia University in New York and Magdalen College, Oxford. His articles have appeared in publications including the New Yorker, the Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and the Times of India. His first novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2008. His second novel, Last Man in Tower, was published in 2011. Praise for Aravind Adiga: 'Adiga is a real writer - that is to say, someone who forges an original voice and vision' Sunday Times 'Beautifully done ... As honest a book as it is entertaining: funny and engaging' John Burnside, The Times (Last Man In Tower) 'Adiga achieves in a dozen pages what many novels fail to do in hundreds: convincingly render individual desire, disappointment and survival ... Between the Assassinations commands attention from beginning to end' San Francisco Chronicle 'Blazingly savage and brilliant ... Not a single detail in this novel rings false or feels confected' Neel Mukherjee, Sunday Telegraph (The White Tiger)
Selection Day is at its heart an engrossing and nuanced coming-of-age-novel ... intriguing and subtly developed ... [Adiga] has succeeded in composing a powerful individual story that, at the same time, does justice to life's (and India's) great indeterminacies. Sunday Times [A] finely told, often moving, and intelligent novel ... Adiga's novel takes in class, religion and sexuality - all issues that disrupt the dream of a sport that cares for nothing but talent and temperament. Because Adiga is a novelist, and one who has grown in his art since his Booker prizewinning debut, The White Tiger, he knows how to talk about all these matters through his characters and their compelling stories. -- Kamila Shamsie Guardian [Adiga] has always been drawn to that gap between the glitter and gleam of India Shining and the violence, inequality and social misery that give a partial lie to the nation's desire to rebrand itself ... [he] has written another snarling, witty state-of-the-nation address about a country in thrall to values that 19th-century moralists would have damned as "not cricket". Observer Top-rate fiction from a young master ... Adiga's plot is gripping. Times Nobody can write with such dark wit about the story the social tumult of contemporary India like Aravind Adiga, who won the Booker prize for his 2008 debut, The White Tiger ... Four years on, his characters' voices still jump off the page. GQ What makes Selection Day special beyond its journalistic achievements is its sure sense of the eroticism of the locker room. Stripped of his cricketing whites and chest guard, the sportsman is at risk of exposing his heart ... Never predictable, never simple and never consoling. Literary Review [Selection Day] brings Mumbai to life ... Adiga handles painful subjects - abuse, violence, corruption - with sensitivity and dazzling flashes of black humour. Daily Telegraph Adiga excels ... [He] has written another snarling, witty state-of-the-nation address about a country in thrall to values that 19th-century moralists would have damned as "not cricket". -- Sukhdev Sandhu Guardian Adiga's novels ... get better and better ... The social, economic, and environmental preoccupations readers have come to expect of him take [Selection Day] to another level of enlightenment Sydney Morning Herald A well-observed, compulsively readable story of adolescence and ambition, fathers and sons and India today. Tatler Aravind Adiga's enthralling Selection Day studies, with universalizing insight, two brothers from Mumbai consecrated to cricket at psychic cost -- Paul Binding, 'Book of the Year' Times Literary Supplement Ambitious, original and morally serious ... a moving, unsettling and absorbing story of aspiration and its discontents in contemporary urban India ... Much more than just a cricket book, Selection Day is one of the finest novels written about the game, combining astute judgements with accounts of individual innings marked by an unobtrusive lyricism ... Adiga has often been compared, most notably with Last Man in Tower, to Charles Dickens, but Selection Day is reminiscent of a very different Victorian novelist: Thomas Hardy ... there is never any doubt of its tragic resolution; yet it loses none of its emotional force ... Selection Day is written at an angle to conventional realism; Adiga does not construct the illusion that we see this world through the eyes of his characters. We see it through the author's eyes, and what emerges most powerfully, as with Hardy, is the author's own personality: the force of his humanity and his social and political vision ... In the quarter-century since liberalisation, urban India has seen more social and economic change and upheaval than in entire centuries. To a remarkable and depressing extent, Indian fiction in English has failed to reckon with this change. For the third book running, Adiga rises to the challenge with a novel of ambition, originality, moral seriousness and sociological insight. To use an analogy appropriate to a novel about batsmanship: where so many of his peers are content to safely nudge ones and twos, Adiga remains willing to take risks in the pursuit of fours and sixes. The Hindu Selection Day is a captivating and sensitive coming-of-age story that tackles various new themes: the confounding nature of sexuality; the darkness that accompanies excellence and achievement ... Adiga's characters, like his settings, are getting more complex with each book, and this complexity makes his indictment of the contemporary world all the more urgent and convincing. -- Hirsh Sawhney Times Literary Supplement I also enjoyed and admired Aravind Adiga's funny and touching Selection Day in which cricketing prodigies in Mumbai face googlies from both bowlers and life -- Peter Parker Spectator The best novel I read this year ... In its primal triangle of rival brothers and a maniacal father, hell-bent on success in cricket in India, Adiga grips the passions while painting an extraordinary panorama of contemporary sports, greed, celebrity, and mundanity. As a literary master, Adiga has only advanced in his art since his Booker Prize-winning The White Tiger. -- Mark Greif Atlantic Supplies further proof that [Adiga's] Booker Prize ... was no fluke. He is not merely a confident storyteller but also a thinker, a skeptic, a wily entertainer, a thorn in the side of orthodoxy and cant ... Adiga ... again displays what might be his greatest gifts as a postcolonial novelist: His strong sense of how the world actually works, and his ability to climb inside the minds of characters from vastly different social strata ... What this novel offers is the sound of a serious and nervy writer working at near the top of his form. Like a star cricket batter, Mr. Adiga stands and delivers, as if for days. -- Dwight Garner New York Times Adiga's wit and raw sympathy will carry uninitiated readers beyond their ignorance of cricket ... Adiga's paragraphs bounce along like a ball hit hard down a dirt street ... Adiga's voice is so exuberant, his plotting so jaunty, that the sadness of this story feels as though it is accumulating just outside our peripheral vision -- Ron Charles Washington Post A master class in integrating character ... Peppered with dashes of humor, this dark and unflinching story is an unqualified triumph. Booklist (starred review) Capitvating Harper's Bazaar Adiga's barbed prose deftly skewers India's tangled religious and class dynamics, and its literary stereotypes. One character notes, "What we Indians want in literature, at least the kind written in English, is not literature at all, but flattery." To his credit, Adiga offers none. New Yorker Sparkling ... Compulsively readable Tatler Engrossing The Cricketer A work ... of almost palpable freshness Scotland on Sunday Best novel [of 2016] was Aravind Adiga's Selection Day ... Wonderful -- Declan Kiberd, 'Books of the Year 2016' Irish Times A gripping tale of ambition, exploration, sexuality and hatred... A delightful read. Indian Express [An] ambitious and disquieting novel ... Adiga's touch never falters ... Adiga's characters are ... one of the triumphs of the book Hindustan Times Charged with feverish energy, imbued with vivid colour ... Another great delivery The National Adiga seems boundlessly gifted ... he has produced a nearly flawless novel, and further proof that he is among our finest contemporary novelists. San Francisco Chronicle This is a novel with broad sweep, accomplished with commendable economy and humor, in a sinewy, compact prose that has the grace and power of a gifted athlete. New York Times Book Review Couldn't be more vivid ... comical and searing ... Brings a family, a city and an entire country to scabrous and antic life. Chicago Tribune [A] ferociously brilliant novel Slate Scathingly satirical ... Bitterly trenchant ... filled with smart, spot-on observations Newsday