Author: Malcolm Knox
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Rating: 4 stars
By Archie Mac
16 Aug 2006
There should be a language warning on this book - it comes thick and fast and does not let up for the entire read.
was awarded the cricket book of the year by Wisden, which is a little surprising because even though there is a cricket Test match taking place during the book, it is very much a minor subplot.
Having said that, this is still a magnificent read, with some of the dialogue between the main characters being a veritable Beatitude to peruse. It took me 50 pages before I was hooked, but after that I read it at every opportunity - on the train, at traffic lights, and even while cooking dinner.
is about a typical nuclear Australian family, except for the fact that the middle son is a successful Test cricketer. This puts a lot more strain on the normal family dynamics especially when the father dies just before the start of the New Year's Test Match in Sydney.
Added to this, there is a lot of mystery surrounding the death, and as the eldest son digs deeper he finds his father - a doctor - was involved in the sordid world of pornography. To make matters worse, his marriage is falling apart, he is infatuated with a younger woman at work, and his cricketing brother doesn't seem interested in anything other then arresting a bad run of low scores in the Test arena.
Malcolm Knox has written non-fiction cricket publications and his observation of cricket leads to some of the most memorable writing in the book.
"In the cricket community, it doesn't really matter whether you're a nice guy or a total prick. You'll be a nice guy who couldn't do the job, or a prick who earned respect out in the middle. Take Bradman".
It might be just as well that Knox is an Australian otherwise there may be some offence taken over some of his descriptions; at one stage he has the Aussie team agreeing at a drinks break to appeal as loud as possible, whether the batsman hits the ball or not, in an effort to con the umpire.
Even worse, he has the new young Aussie batting star making siren noises from the slips in order to put off his South African opponent who has just lost family in a fatal car accident (shades of Chris Cairns).
My wife is currently reading the book and enjoying it, which shows that this book is not just for the cricket fan. In fact, apart from the language I would highly recommend it to anyone.