This time, still in Mumbai, Aravind Adiga tackles the great Indian passion that is cricket. Selection Day focuses on two talented brothers and their rival and friend who, unlike them, comes from a privileged background. The story also stars their obsessed father, who has trouble relinquishing his overbearing iron grip on his sons to their coach, a love interest, and multiple intermediaries in the cricket world, all expecting a little black money from the deals.
There are some wonderful observations of sibling rivalry, the seven kinds of Jain truths, and how decisions that are good for the family may not be so good for the individual — but too many pages describing the second day of cricket matches with 256 runs did me in.
Alligator Candy is the last request that the author, then aged 4, made from his older brother, who took off for the corner store and never came back, having had the terrible misfortune to meet two men in search of someone to torture and exploit. As an adult, he revisits the crime and learns the gruesome details, details that his parents carefully shielded him from at the time, while reliving his guilt and the very strange days that followed his brother’s disappearance. Despite the subject matter, it is the story of a very wonderful set of parents, so there is some hope in the gloom of the story.
3 memoirs in a row! We Were Brothers is the story of brothers who grew up, close, in a racist Southern family — but one left, went North, and shed the racism while the other stayed. The book tells the story of their long estrangement and their efforts to patch up the relationship, not too successfully. Along the way the author remembers his childhood and to me, that was the best part of the story.
The Fishermen stars four brothers in a little town in Nigeria who encounter a madman whose prophecy will tear them apart. The author describes the complicated love/jealousy relationships between the brothers very well, and choosing the point of view of the third-oldest brother, nine when the story starts, makes for a compelling angle on the story.
On the other hand, I did not care for the dramatic, Greek drama-like manner in which the novel unfolds, which I thought felt overly formal and heavy.
A young boy has disappeared and, years later, his family is suffering, dad, mom, his little brother, his grandfather, each in a different way. And then, the boy is found. Remember Me Like This takes each character’s perspective to deliver an evocative story of sadness, revenge, and complex family ties. I loved how the author captured the relationship between the two brothers, with all its complexities that are often glossed over in other stories. The mother’s frantic refusal to accept her son’s disappearance seemed a little cliched in contrast.