“Wiji is a poor detective, though what he lacks in focus and skill he makes up for in enthusiasm. To reduce this novel—either of these novels—to books “about cricket” is to take away from all the amazing things that Karunatilaka does here: the entire book, with its brief episodes, lists, and anecdotes, is sleight-of-hand, but the sort that leaves you feeling gratified in the end, rather than cheated. But to say that Pradeep Mathew isn’t “about cricket” is also a gross misrepresentation: there are diagrams, photographs, statistics, random asides, and all the rules of the sport in what seems like the completely wrong order, so that a cricket novice might close the back cover and say, “I still don’t really understand how this game is basically played.” It’s as though your drunk uncle set out to explain something to you, giving you all the wrong information at the wrong time and getting far too excited about minor details or non-sequiturs—which, I suppose, is exactly what’s happening here. In Pradeep Mathew we come at the sport from the most unusual angles, but luckily, our understanding of the game deepens in turn.”
—from Wickets and Wonders: Cricket’s Rich Literary Vein by Elizabeth Minkel. This article is great not just because it celebrates my dear Pradeep Mathew, but also because it links to this very funny video that is making me giggle like an idiot.
Ahhh! Bookavore, I hope you know that you were the one that turned me on to Pradeep Mathew in the first place. For which I owe you my firstborn or something, because man, I love this book. Thank you times ONE MILLION!
(also, I could watch that video all day. When they show the replay of the guy rubbing the grass before the frisbee hits the ground, or over at the chessboard: “He’s going for the reds and the greens, and the yellows to finish it off.”)