This novel about cricket comes from the middle of the bat

Weaved through all this enthusiasm and joy is the inevitable shadow. Reader’s life is riddled with tragedy and marital failure, and his beautiful bats can’t compete with the mass-produced corporate versions for sponsorship. Todd is luckier in love, but sometimes brilliance in the game takes constant luck.

Cricket is a paradox that defies the naivety of saying that something corrupt is “not cricket”: sledging and brutal gameplay are as much a part of the game as the zeal, artistry and technique that so moves its followers. Fandom and betting, the irrationality, politics and cruelty of selectors, the cynical behavior of players and managers, all this is cricket and we see all this in Willowmann.

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For someone who doesn’t actually feel like playing through a game, this novel is the kind of book I should have taken to that Boxing Day game a generation ago to ease the longueurs that never seem to bother the true lover . There is history, emotion, even reflections on the willow trees themselves, which must die to support the sport’s existence. Cricket lives and dies with the trees that make it special. Because as Dennis Lillee found out in 1979, iconoclasm has its limits when Cricket decided it was a metal bat.

Maybe if you take Willowmann Nobody will judge you until the next test. Or maybe it is, because cricket is cricket.

https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/a-six-all-the-way-willowman-is-a-novel-off-the-middle-of-the-bat-20221230-p5c9hu.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture This novel about cricket comes from the middle of the bat

Jaclyn Diaz

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