Where is Pradeep S. Mathew - spin bowler extraordinaire and 'the greatest cricketer to walk the earth'?
Retired sportswriter W. G. Karunasena is dying, and he wants to know.
W.G. will spend his final months drinking arrack, making his wife unhappy, ignoring his son and tracking down the mysterious Pradeep. On his quest he will also uncover a coach with six fingers, a secret bunker below a famous stadium, a Tamil Tiger warlord, and startling truths about Sri Lanka, cricket and himself.
Winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
"Carries real weight...a mixture of, say, CLR James, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Fernando Pessoa and Sri Lankan arrack...essential to anyone with a taste for maverick genius"
"Chinaman is a debut bristling with energy and confidence, a quixotic novel that is both an elegy to lost ambitions and a paean to madcap dreams"
"Karunatilaka has a real lightness of touch. He mixes humour and violence with the same deftness with which his protagonist mixes drinks"
"The strength of the book lies in its energy, its mixture of humour and heartwrenching emotion, its twisting narrative, its playful use of cricketing facts and characters, and its occasional blazing anger about what Sri Lanka has done to itself...if the sweetest sound you've ever heard is leather on willow, if some of the most exciting moments of your life have consisted of watching a five-day match end in a draw, if the most important question around the partition of the subcontinent is "who would have made it into Undivided India's cricket team in any era?", if your mind keeps returning to that one extraordinary spell by a bowler (say, Mohammad Zahid to Brian Lara at the Gabba, 1997)...then this book could be the best thing to happen to your life since the Ashes/World Cup/away series win against the best team in the world"
"A Great Cricket Novel. For a game without much great fiction, that's a reason to applaud with drums - and forget the rules the marshals impose at Lord's"