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Analysis of Literature Reviews on the Book "Selection Day" by Aravind Adiga

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While reviewing the literature, I have gone through some book reviews by the journalists and the novelists related to my novel in order to understand this in broader way.

Quinn Annalisa, a journalist, wrote a book review at this novel in 2017 at NPR books. In her book review, “Cricket and different choices in ‘Selection Day’” she asserts that the story, at first, seems to be about cricket but, in actual, story is about choices made by the father for his sons and how being over protective and over ambitious, he did everything to make them cricketers and what happened afterwards in the lives of his sons. Their father, Mohan, limited the ways for his sons to make any other choice or to choose any other profession in life except to become successful cricketers. For this, Mohan tries to take them away from things like premature shaving, pornography and car driving because he wanted them to focus only at cricket. His son, Manju, wanted to become a forensic scientist but he had to end up with his personal choice. The novel seems to fall into an expected pattern, from the very title, it shows that there would be a selection day where judges will choose the best cricketer, there will be dreams of athlectic glory and the rivalry between brothers but it was not the scene in actual. On the other hand, it was the matter of choices that how their father selected profession for them to become cricketers. He made choices instead of letting his sons free to choose and then this led their lives in totally different direction.

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“Adiga’s story is not about the path to glory in cricket as much as it is about the paths closed off to it”.

Quinn throws light at the character of Manju that how his choices were limited by his father from his childhood. Quinn raised the point of class differences in her book review through the character of Javed and Manju. Manju thinks that Javed can act as a rebel because he is a son of rich man but, in actual, Manju is suffering from his sense of fear and has set an imaginary cage around him. Even, Quinn hardly found any person free in the novel to make choices at his own.

Shamsie Kamila wrote a book review of novel “Selection Day” in 2016 at The Guardian. In her book review, with the title “A compelling tale of cricket and corruption ” highlights the idea of corruption in cricket that how cricket as a game is loved in India and how much has been corrupted later in the nation.

“Cricket here represents what is loved in India, and yet is being corrupted by the changes within the nation”.

She reviews that the novel is based on the story of two cricketing brothers whose father wants them to become world’s best cricketers. Shamsie noted the other two Indian batsmen Sachin Tendulkar Vinod Kambli, who were childhood friends, played for the nation while Tendulkar got utmost fame but Kambli’s career was over at age of 24. Shamsie is somehow relating their story of national heroes Tendulkar and Kambli with the characters presented by Adiga in novel. Shamsie is taking the novel with the nationalist view.

Shamsie is trying to make the context of the novel that in India, almost 20 years ago, cricket was the game of money and corruption as because of sponsors, bookies and gambling scandals.

“Cricket is money in India, to a degree unimagined 20 years ago. The shortened Twenty20 format has brought in new audiences and given rise to the Indian Premier League, beloved of sponsors and bookies and tainted with betting scandals”.

Cricket became the source of prosperity and fame for the cricketer. Shamsie points out that such a writer, Adiga, can’t write a simple story of two brothers struggling to become best batsmen in which one succeeds and one fails.

“The tale of two boys who will divide success and failure evenly between them is far too simplistic for a novelist of his calibre – and anyway, success in sport can be the most temporary state, and is never without a personal cost”.

Instead of this, according to Shamsie, the novel has been written under the nationalist view by looking at the game of cricket as a national game and now, how much corruption has been involved in the game that there has become the discourse in which cricket is money.

Theroux Marcel, an English novelist, wrote review in this novel in 2017 at The Newyork Times with the title “Aravind Adiga’s Novel is about the game of cricket and sexual awakening”. He reviews the book by saying that this novel is about the game of cricket and it is the game on which the whole nation becomes united. “Devotion to the sport is an enthusiasm that unites 1.3 billion people”.

He represents the novel as a dream of athletic glory. At start, Theroux, in short, describing the story of the novel that how ambitiously the father, Mohan, is struggling to make his sons best batsmen and for that what are the sources he is using like taking them to Kukke Subramanya, the god of cricket, at a temple

“Once a year, he renews his blood contract with Kukke Subramanya, the god of cricket, at a temple outside Mangalore”. And which actions he is taking for his sons to keep them away from premature shaving, pornography and car driving just because he wants them to concentrate fully at their game of cricket. Theroux highlights the sexual awakening and homosexuality in the novel that is legacy of British rule that they left before leaving India. According to him, Adiga is highlighting the mental condition of his characters who in adolescent are confused. “The boys are forced to sacrifice their childhoods in grueling practice, bizarre lessons in personal hygiene, exploitative sponsorship arrangements and a constricting determinism about what their lives must amount to”.

Garner Dwight, an American journalist, wrote book review in 2017 at NewYork Times with the title “ ‘Selection Day’ presents India as seen through the wickets ”, in which he highlights the idea of Indians that how they like to be presented infront of the world. In this review, Garner is taking the nationalist’s own views about Indians that they want to be presented as expressive, sensitive, thoughtful and tolerant. Garner presents the book as a cricket novel, a book about fathers, about language, about religion and its cruelties. He also adds that the novel has some connections with novelist’s other novel “The White Tiger ” in which the son of rikshaw driver,struggling with poverty,later becomes a successful businessman. Same, in Selection Day, the boys are struggling with poverty and their father wants his sons to become best cricketers in order to come out of the poverty and to become rich. “The arc of “Selection Day” has some similarities with that of “The White Tiger.” In that earlier novel, the son of a rickshaw driver grows up and finds success as an entrepreneur”.

Miller Laura, American journalist, wrote this book review in 2017 at The slate book review with the title “ Some boys rise, Some boys fall ” in which she writes that for Adiga, game of cricket is a kind of metaphor that he used for gaining integrity, authority and economy. She highlights that for Adiga, class is a great theme, as through the character of their father when he tells to his children that if in case, they will fail to succeed in cricket, they will end up begging outside the train station. So according to Laura Miller, writer has used cricket metaphorically to show its power in society. “Cricket serves Adiga as a marvelously flexible metaphor: for the (lost) dream of civic integrity, for tradition and authority, for the contest that is life in a rapidly evolving economy”.

Colbert Jade, a journalist, did book review of this novel in 2017 at The Globe and Mail with the title “Aravind Adiga’s Selection Day is a polyphonous novel about contemporary India” in which Colbert delineats how the contemporary condition of India has been portrayed through this novel. He raised the point of migration of rural poor from village to city life to improve their lives can be seen through the character of Mohan who brought his sons to city in order to become financially secure. Also, this is the novel about contemporary India exhibiting the culture of Mumbai cricket, asserted Jade. “Migration – of the rural poor moving from India’s villages to its megalopolises”.

Jade wrote in his review that the novel is anti-romantic because of lack of delineation of female characterization but still the novelist left some space for love and intimacy in some of the characters’ lives. “There’s room for warmth, eroticism, intimacy, love even, in an ultimately anti-romantic book such as Selection Day”.

Charles Ron, a book critic, did review this book at The Washington Post in 2016 with the title “‘Selection Day’: Two brothers and an obsessed dad seek a ticket out of poverty” in which he discusses the struggle of father for his sons to give them such profession that will take them out of poverty. He emphasizes that Americans might know more about Quidditch than about cricket. He argues that usually, choosing to become a cricketer as a profession to come out of poverty is not a path youngsters pursue but India is a plain where one can think about choosing cricket as a profession to come out of poverty. Charles argues that whenever a sportsman comes up as a successful cricketer or comes out of his poverty,he becomes famous in his community but people do not come to know about the journey of hardships he has faced or the history behind his success. “Although tales of young people pursuing sports as a path out of poverty are hardly unknown”.

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