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Of Tendulkar among other things
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At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer's personal information. Shehan Karunatilaka's wonderfully zany Chinaman says, "Begin with a question" and keeps you hooked all the way to suburban New Zealand. Centurion starts with "Hi. At its centre, is a fictional imagining of the psychological footprint left by Sachin Tendulkar's father - a professor of Marathi literature, a genteel scholar who belonged to a world of books and words - on his son, a man of action, vast fields and open skies.
Centurion examines worlds from individual to global, and contains a variety of voices and narrative styles. Everyday conversation hence the "hi" that opens it turns into an interior monologue of a character who could be Sachin Tendulkar , followed by a legal trial and a stretch of dialogue that hovers between Biblical and Vedic.
Of Tendulkar among other things
In normal circumstances that would be somewhat of an eye-rolling cop-out. In Centurion , though, the end is not the point of the entire exercise. Subtitled "The Father, The Son and the Spirit of Cricket", the book is a languid, expansive exploration of the tenuous links between sport and study, the educationist and the utopianist, man's inner and outer worlds.
The book centres around a job interview for a maverick professor to head the college where Tendulkar's father taught in real life. It ends up talking about conflict and humanity, and includes the thoughts of 14th century Maharashtrian poet-saints Muktabai and Janabai, Japanese poet-saint Basho, English lawyer-philosopher Sir Thomas More, 19th century American Indian leader Chief Seattle, and the poetry of Professor Ramesh Tendulkar. The characters in Centurion may be fictional but the words of the poet exist.
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