[KINDLE] ✿ Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew Author Shehan Karunatilaka – Pdfr25.co


Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew Retired Sportswriter WG Karunasena Is Dying He Will Spend His Final Months Drinking Arrack, Making His Wife Unhappy, Ignoring His Son And Tracking Down Pradeep S Mathew, A Spin Bowler Who Has Mysteriously Disappeared And Who WG Considers The Greatest Cricketer To Walk The EarthOn His Quest To Find This Unsung Genius, WG Uncovers A Coach With Six Fingers, A Secret Bunker Below A Famous Stadium, A Tamil Tiger Warlord, And Startling Truths About Sri Lanka, Cricket And HimselfAmbitious, Playful And Strikingly Original, Chinaman Is A Novel About Cricket And Sri Lanka And The Story Of Modern Day Sri Lanka Through Its Most Cherished Sport Hailed By The Gratiaen Prize Judges As One Of The Most Imaginative Works Of Contemporary Sri Lankan Fiction , It Is An Astounding Book

  • Hardcover
  • 397 pages
  • Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew
  • Shehan Karunatilaka
  • English
  • 15 December 2017
  • 9780224091459

About the Author: Shehan Karunatilaka

Shehan Karunatilaka lives and works in Singapore He has written advertisements, rock songs, travel stories, and bass lines This is his first novel.



10 thoughts on “Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew

  1. says:

    There is a Sinhalese expression Konde bandapu cheena, which translates as ponytailed Chinaman, and connotes someone gullible someone who will believe anything A Chinaman in cricket terms is according to Wikipedia a left handed bowler bowling wrist spin left arm unorthodox For a right handed batsman, the ball will move from the off side to the leg side left to right on the TV screen The question asked by the narrator of this novel is this Is this a story about a pony tailed Chinaman bowler Or a tale to tell a pony tailed Chinaman That is for you to decide Whatever your choice may be after finishing this novel, Chinaman is one of the best novels I ve read so far this year I know jack about cricket, which features heavily throughout the story no surprise there, considering Americans are far involved in football, baseball and basketball Strangely enough, my lack of knowledge was not a drawback in any form The mix of Sri Lankan history, contemporary politics, humor, the characters and the author s prose all come together to make this book an unforgettable experience There is nothing inspiring than a solid deadline, notes retired Sri Lankan journalist WG Karunasena, and after a long career of both sportswriting and serious drinking, he has been given his last one His doctor has given him about a year to live if he does not stop drinking if WG cuts down to two drinks a day, maybe a year or two at most He decides that it s a good time to do a halfway decent documentary on Sri Lankan cricket , and is obsessed with a cricket player named Pradeep Mathew, who he says, is Sri Lanka s all time best cricketer Mathew was a top spinner, Chinaman, googly, top spinner and that amazing arm ball that god rid of the Aussie captain Along with his friend and fellow cricket fanatic Ari Byrd, WG begins to gather information on Mathew, who has long since disappeared from the cricket scene, official records and also from Sri Lanka, seemingly vanishing into thin air As they start the documentary project, which will later evolve into a book project for WG, they run into several people who claim to know something about Mathew, and they run into others who do not want WG to go any further with the project Is there some conspiracy at work here As WG and Ari embark on their at times rather strange quest, WG s obsession with Mathew and his discussions about the game of cricket become a vehicle for exploring Sri Lankan politics and history, and life in contemporary Sri Lankan society But there are other considerations at work in this novel as well, both on and off the cricket field relationships within families friendships politics and money that get in the way of sportsmanship old age the sadness and regret of wasted lives the inescapable power plays all presented in a style that fits well into the story without ever getting overly preachy And then there s WG himself should anyone even believe his ramblings, considering his alcoholic bent toward self destruction and considering the characters that populate this novel There s WG s old nemesis, once a rival for WG s wife Sheila, who may or may not have had six fingers and who may or may not have been Mathew s school coach a midget who claims to have had an underground bunker and to have secretly taped damning conversations on the cricket field a friend of WG who may or not be a pedophile and there s WG himself, the very center of the novel The story is punctuated throughout with definitions of cricket terms, diagrams of different cricket techniques, parts of the field etc, largely to help the reader and to move the story along There are also fuzzy photos here and there that may or may not lend credence to WG s search for the truth about Pradeep Mathew Chinaman is funny and downright sobering at the same time, which given the seriousness of the history of ongoing problems in Sri Lanka is a good juggling act, keeping the reader entertained on one hand while exploring the problems of this nation And then there s the sports aspect the author clearly brings out the magic moments of sporting events that tie people together sport can unite worlds, tear down walls and transcend race, the past, and all probability Unlike life, sport matters As WG notes, In thirty years, the world will not care about how I lived But in a hundred years, Bulgarians will still talk of Letchkov and how he expelled the mighty Germans from the 1994 World Cup with a simple header As an American who knows little to nothing about the sport of cricket, at first the book was a bit daunting, even though the author lays out the basics and then throws in bits about different throws or batting techniques When I realized that this could be problematic, I went to the internet for help in getting a quick rundown on how this game is played problem solved Cricket might be a sticking point for some readers in this country, but ultimately I discovered it didn t really matter the overall story is so good and is so well told that my lack of cricket knowledge was only a momentary glitch that really did not distract from the narrative The ending may be a bit gimmicky for some readers, but the book s good points are so numerous that they outweigh any negatives Whether or not you care about cricket, I definitely and highly recommend this book it is that good, offering its readers a glimpse into life in another country, and into one man s journey of discovery in his last months of life It s a beautiful book, and I hope it finds other Americans to cheer it on.

  2. says:

    I had been thinking about buying this particular novel for some time, and I found it at the Landmark at the Mylapore City Centre, now defunct They were closing down, and some genius had stowed a beautiful yellow hardcover of Snehan Karunatilaka s cricket novel in the lowest rung of a rapidly emptying, discounted bookshelf It was priced at INR 36, less than even the big glass of filter coffee at Saravana Bhavan, which is INR 45 I was overjoyed, and billed it immediately, lest someone recognise their mistake and price it back at what should be at least 200 or 300 rupees.I didn t read it then, though I kept it at the bottom of my own shelf and proceeded to look at it wistfully at intervals, until last week India had just returned from a rather successful tour of Sri Lanka, winning a test series after 20 or so years I watched the Galle test, and was consumed by a desire to go watch the next game from the fort Alas, the next Galle match is very near in time and I won t be able to raise enough funds that quick However, since I was thinking about cricket and Sri Lanka, I picked up the book from my shelf, dusted it off, and start reading Chinaman is not the best sports novel I ve read That, perhaps, would be Chad Harbach s The Art of Fielding And I can t talk about cricket novels, because this is the only novel about cricket I ve read There is another that has been suggested to me, a novel about cricket among immigrants in America, the name of which eludes me now.What Chinaman could be, as has already been suggested, is the first great Sri Lankan novel.In the way the best stories about sports are, the book is about so much than cricket itself It s about the island and a people, a way of life and a nation, the story of a sport and the obsession with it There s so much about cricket itself, which, for a lover of the game like me, translated to hours of pleasure, but the reason Chinaman is so good is because it relates life and the sport in ways you can only read, smile and nod about You don t need to know the game to read this book, you ll love it anyway.It s an extraordinarily skilful work, told in spurts of little stories, anecdotes and cricket lore God only knows how he structured it, and I ll have to read it several times to get a feel for how he managed to execute the narrative It does sag at places, and very clearly at the very end, when the old drunk who we ve come to know and love so intimately is not narrating the story But who cares By that time I was so taken by the reading experience that I was willing to overlook anything.The island is in these pages, it s sweltering afternoons and its beautiful sands, its people and their lives, its war and what it brought, sport and what it means One answer to that last question I found on two pages a little to the end In the words of our W.G Karunasena Some people gaze at setting suns, sitting mountains, teenage virgins and their wiggling thighs I see beauty in free kicks, late cuts, slam dunks, tries from halfway, and balls that turn from off to leg When the English toured in 1993, their supporters arrived in droves and formed a jolly beer swilling troupe called the Barmy Army A t shirt of theirs read as follows One day you will meet a goal you ll want to marry and have kids with.Anyone who saw Diego Maradona in 1986 will agree that the t shirt speaks the truth To be in the right place at the right time and to watch a gifted athlete is one of life s true pleasures.In sport, has beens can step onto a plate and smash a last ball into oblivion A village can travel to Manchester for a cup tie and topple a giant Villains, can heroes become.In 1996, subcontinental flair overcame western precision and the world s nobodies thrashed the world s bullies 60 years earlier a black man ridiculed the Nazi race theory with 5 gold medals in Berlin before Mein Fuhrer s furious eyes.In real life, justice is rarely poetic and too often invisible Good sits in a corner, collects a cheque and pays a mortgage Evil builds empires.Sport gives us organism that attack in formation, like India s spin quartet and the three Ws from the Caribbean Teams that become superhuman right before your eyes Like Dalglish s Liverpool, Fitzpatrick s All Blacks, and Ranatunga s Lankans.In real life, if you find yourself chasing 30 off 20 balls, you will fall short, even with all your wickets in hand Real life is lives at 2 runs an over, with a dodgy LBW every decade.In 30 years, the world will not care about how I lived But in 100 years, Bulgarians will still talk of Letchkov and how he expelled the mighty Germans from the 1994 World Cup with a simple header.Sport can unite worlds, tear down walls, and transcend race, the past, and all probability Unlike life, sport matters.Yes, it does.Sometimes I m asked why I watch cricket with the intensity that I do, and at other times I m asked why I choose to spend half a day buried in a book when I could be doing something else This here is one of the passages I can show them before I ask them to fuck off.

  3. says:

    Fierce war, suicide bombings, change in government after 17 years, weakening economy, struggling middle class families and in the midst of all a cricket team which was the only solace of people Shehan has taken this backdrop to tell the story of an exceptionally talented, rebellious and mysterious cricketer and a retired sports journalist.Never in my life had I imagined that someone will take the story of bars and betting centers of Colombo, prestige issues and politics involved in school cricket, corrupt officials, mood of the city during the nights when the team won matches and the beautiful evenings of Colombo where we can see, through the gaps of fences, players practicing, to international readers Shehan has done that and he has done that so beautifully A must read.

  4. says:

    This is one of the best books I ve read this year 2011 Let me start with telling this first, I used to like and play cricket a lot But over the time I just got dragged away from the game and lost all interest in the game Now I hardly watch or play it I am not interested in cricket any.So for exactly this reason I was reluctant to pick this book up, thinking of it containing all sort of cricket clich s and stuff, which is another way of making myself bored I only bought it on the forced recommendation of a friend who also doesn t like cricket but told some good things about this book Although, I bought it, it stayed in my to be read bucket for longtime after my buying it Finally when I decided to read this book, I wasn t expecting much and thought I wouldn t be able to go beyond first few pages So I wanted to get done with it asap, without wasting my time on something I wasn t interested in.But to be honest I was sucked right into it from the start despite my lack of interest in the cricket Shehan s got brilliant writing style that never feels tedious or overbearing Writing flows from one heading to another at quite reasonable intervals so you don t feel stuck under same chapter for long Book is actually divided into 5 main parts 2nd being the longest.Reading the blurb would make you think that its chockfull of cricket terminologies that would require thorough background knowledge of the game on your part as pre requisite Well, I cannot say completely no to it and I can understand if someone is not aware of cricket, it could be hard to digest this book for him, but you don t need to know the game in detail And knowledge about name of certain cricketers will let you enjoy this book a lot What I realized that it wasn t as much about the game of cricket itself rather it portrays Srilankan society, its culture and its ugly politics both in and out of the game Cricket is part of the story but these other stuff makes this book very interesting.

  5. says:

    This book is the second exceptional book that I enjoyed reading this year.Most of Srilankan fiction talks about the atrocities of the civil war and I wanted to read something different that would also lay bare the soul and spirit of the island nation Snehan Karunatilaka actually does that by giving us a telescopic view of Srilanka through the eyes of cricket fanatic,aged and retired sports journalist and dying alcoholic Mr.W.G Karunasena ,lovingly called Gamini by his wife Sheila and best friend Ari Byrd.Once ,he realises he has only a few days on planet Earth ,he decides to spend his remaining days writing a book on elusive cricketeer Pradeep Matthews ,who he feels is the best spinner the world has ever produced ,an unsung hero whose records have been vengefully erased and who has disappeared from public life since 1995.His search for Matthews is the backbone for the entire story and it is ironic because in the process Gamini tries to search for his heart and spirit which he lost to alcohol many years ago.I love the fact that the author effortlessly has interweaved a friendship between two old men that has lasted over decades ,a rivalry between two old men,a marriage that still has a lot of love in it inspite of a lot of wear and tear over the years in the form of dead hopes and unfulfilled expectations and Srilankan cricket history into the story.We also have a midget,cricketing syndicates,caste differences, bombings ,cricketing anecdotes and the LTTE all thrown into the story.He cleverly shows the reader the quirks and behavior of Srilankan society at various levels.The writing is philosophical,humorous and cheeky in many places and we realise halfway through that the writer loves his cricket and his country.One can sense the writer s sadness when Gamini says that whatever the difference between the Tamilians and Sinhalese ,it is not so big that they have to shoot bullets at each other or burn down libraries or his disappointment when another character Johnny says that this is a beautiful country but you are going to destroy it.This book is a celebration of cricket and Srilanka as a nation.Don t miss it if you are a die hard cricket fan

  6. says:

    I came across this book on GR and was absolutely bowled over pun intended by the blurb, the beautiful cover and the reviews This is a fantastic story about an alcoholic sports journalist W G Karunasena and his quest to uncover the story of Pradeep Mathew who was perhaps the greatest spinner to have bowled on the Sri Lankan pitches He is aided by his friend and neighbour Ari Byrd and a couple of other colourful characters.The author has spun a beautiful story incorporating the politics of Sri Lankan cricket and the country The book has anecdotes of cricket in the 80s and 90s It also gives an insight into the Srilankan people and culture, the racial tensions between the Sinhalas and the Tamils and a little bit about the LTTE He has also explained each and every cricketing term and jargon with beautiful illustrations so as to make it inclusive to a non cricket fan But according to me, this book can only be enjoyed by a cricket fan or at least somebody with a passing interest in cricket However, I found the book a bit too long Otherwise, this is a brilliant piece of work by the author.

  7. says:

    The following book contains 3 elements that is nearest and dearest to many Sri Lankans including myself That is Cricket, Sri Lankan society politics and alcohol Shehan Karunatilaka takes us through a wonderful adventure through all these elements and much in this rather long but highly enjoyable novel.If you are a fan of cricket I highly recommend this book to you If you wish to analyze the Sri Lanakan society grab this book For crying out loud If you have some part of you which is Sri Lankan then read this book It is awesome.The only question I have after reading this book in a very eager manner is Who the hell is Praddep Mathews I shall say no

  8. says:

    A book about cricket yes i know i live in South Asia and we re all a little obsessed with this game but a whole book seriously The answer OH YES PLEASE This book made me keep going back to Google and wishing with all my heart that the bowler Pradeep Mathews was a real person, that he existed, that he was as great as sports writer W.G Karunasena made him out to be, that his life was mostly bad luck, that he did disappear to live a life of obscurity I Googled not just him but all Sri Lankan cricketers to see if he was at least based on someone Pardeep Mathews is a character you wish would just step out of the book and be And the brilliance of it, even for someone who finds the game except during World Cup days a tad bit boring i fell in love with every aspect of it.

  9. says:

    Probably the best Cricket oriented Novel, and one of the Best novels I have read so far.Despite being a debut novel the book does not reek of amateur writing It transported me back to the days of reading Jeeves and other works by P G Wodehouse Shehan has managed to retain the same vein of wit running throughout the book.Narrated through an aged, dying,alcoholic Sportswriter, we witness a tapestry of events that shaped Sri Lanka, told in a perspective of Cricket the National Past time Highly recommended to all Sri Lankans, who are also ardent Cricket Fans.

  10. says:

    This is very probably the first novel written in English by a resident Sri Lankan author that has any literary merit whatsoever It s insightful, realistic, funny, ironic and a guaranteed page turner to boot I don t even like cricket, but it still kept me reading.A full review, written from the point of view of a Sri Lankan reader, is available here.

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