Test cricket and the novel are two pinnacles of modern cultural achievement, long-haul enterprises of intricacy and complexity. Why, then, have the two rarely intersected? It is especially strange given that cricket has arguably had more books devoted to it than has any other sport. Literary-minded cricket lovers will rhapsodise over the prose style of C.L.R. James or the nostalgic elegance of Neville Cardus, but few books about cricket have been fiction, and even fewer of them have been much good. While Joseph O’Neill’s recent Netherland (2008) was a fine offbeat novel that featured cricket, there have been no great works of cricket fiction. Until now.
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