Archive for May, 2021

I haven’t read a book in my native language Tamil in a while. So I thought that before I forget it completely, I’ll read a book in Tamil  I decided to read ‘Ponniyin Selvan‘ (Ponni’s Son) by Kalki.

Ponniyin Selvan‘ was first published in the 1950s, when it was serialized in Kalki magazine. It was probably the first (or one of the first) historical novels in Tamil and it got great acclaim and a huge fan following when it first came out. It led to a whole historical-fiction-industry in Tamil, when everyone and their brother and sister started writing historical novels. I think that craze died sometime in the 1990s.

I first read ‘Ponniyin Selvan‘ when I was in school. It was reissued again  in Kalki magazine. We used to read a couple of chapters every week and then wait for the next week’s issue. The story ran for nearly three years. A few years back, one of the publishers decided to publish the book in the format in which it originally came out in the 1950s, with the same font, and the illustrations by the original artist. When this edition came out, I got it. It was beautiful. That is the one I am reading now. I finished reading the first volume today.

What is the story about? Well, ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ has a long, epic, rambling plot. It is a historical novel set at around 970 C.E. It is about the Chola king and queens and princes and princesses and their friends and enemies. It has everything that one would expect in a historical novel – many characters, intricate plot, conspiracies, palace intrigues, romance, war, amazing adventures, secrets from the past, charming characters, spies, badass villains, many surprising revelations. The influence of Alexandre Dumas is deeply felt in Kalki’s book – there is a young man, Vandhiyadevan, who looks like D’Artagnan, there is a beautiful woman, Nandini, who looks like Milady de Winter, and there is even a minister like Cardinal Richelieu. Of course, the actual plot and characters are different and fascinating in their own way.

One of the things I loved about the book is that it focuses on the plot and the characters. There is a lot of charming dialogue, but there are no long monologues or boring descriptions. There is rarely a dull moment in the story. Another thing I loved about the book is that, the author gives the required historical background, whenever it is required for a better understanding of the story. He doesn’t push the historical background into the footnotes or into the notes at the back of the book, but provides it in the middle of the story. That way he makes us learn history on the way and I loved that. Another thing I loved about the story is that different characters in the book quote classic Tamil poetry, and they follow it up with a commentary on the poem. Sometimes a poem has mythological allusions which are not readily apparent while reading the poem and the author, through a character’s voice, explains them. It was fascinating to read.

I read the book for the first time when I was fifteen and now when I am reading it again after many years, my reading experience is totally different. For example, when I read it the first time, I unconsciously classified the characters as good and bad, the way we tend to do when we are younger. But reading it now, I realized that the way Kalki has depicted the characters, they are complex and imperfect and fascinating. The bad characters are not really bad, and the good characters are not really perfect. It is fascinating how we see a book with new eyes, when we read it again after many years.

The artwork in the book by Maniom, is very beautiful. It has a classical, vintage feel to it. I’m sharing some of my favourite pictures from the book, below. Hope you like them.

Left : Vandhiyadevan ;
Middle : Aazhvarkadiyaan
Left : Nandhini ;
Right : Vandhiyadevan
Palace sculpture
Palace sculpture
Left : Vanathi ;
Right : Kundhavai
Left : Vandhiyadevan ;
Right : Kundhavai

Hoping to start the second volume later today 😊

Have you read ‘Ponniyin Selvan‘? Do you like re-reading your favourite books? Do you relate to them differently when you read them again?

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After reading two books by Emma John, I told myself – “She has written just one more book. Let me read that too.” 😊

In ‘Wayfaring Stranger : A Musical Journey in the American South‘, Emma John describes the time when she took a year off and spent time in the American South researching on bluegrass music and trying to learn it and become a bluegrass musician herself. The book features a wonderful cast of characters who are fascinating and nearly always likeable, musicians who are barbers and carpenters and waiters and teachers in their day jobs, but who play bluegrass music in the evening and weekends and at concerts. For nearly everyone of them, bluegrass music is their life, and their day jobs are just a way of paying their bills. There are some legendary musicians too, who don’t play at concerts, who live deep in the mountains, who only play music  in their home or their barn and strive for perfection in their art. Emma John writes about some of these musicians too. Emma John writes about a whole list of great bluegrass musicians and it made me want to find their music and listen to it. The book has some of the most beautiful descriptions of music that I have ever read. Emma John was a trained musician (violinist) herself and it shows in those beautiful descriptions.

I loved ‘Wayfaring Stranger‘. It is a beautiful love letter to bluegrass music, the American South, and the Southern way of life. It is part memoir, part travelogue and part history of bluegrass music. It is one of the best books on music that I’ve ever read and it is one of my favourite books of the year. I enjoyed reading all three of Emma John’s books and I’ll always have a soft corner for her cricket book, but I think ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ is her finest work. It is destined to become a classic.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite passages from the book.

“The mandolinist began to play before anyone else was ready, a little atonal riff he seemed to be offering up to no one but himself. Was he still tuning, perhaps? The banjo plucked a few unlikely notes behind him. A guitar slid in with an answering run, like a batter stealing first base; the bass player laid down some long bow. I couldn’t tell if this was the start of a song or the end of a sound check. But then the individual noises began to grow and coalesce like a creeping threat. Alien bacteria, perhaps, absorbing their environment and evolving rapidly into something cogent, conscious, dangerous. The sound grew louder, more sinister; a fiddle added urgent spikes of fear; I felt my lungs begin to bubble with anxiety. The music reached a crescendo of terror … and stopped dead. A half-breath later, the guitar kicked up a funky beat, and the mandolin player began to sing about his friend who tended bar. The next hour was like falling down a rabbit hole and landing in a club compered by Stanley Kubrick or David Lynch. I had no idea exactly what was going on, but I recognised the genius at work. The band’s authoritative handling of their instruments matched anything I’d heard in the classical world, but their masterful playing was only the half of it. It was what they were doing to music itself that was extraordinary: bending it, contorting it, dismantling its molecules and creating new elements from scratch like chemistry savants. Certainly, this was music I could never think or hope to play myself; it’s probable that only a handful of people on the planet would have the skills to replicate what they were doing. They were a post-modern firework display, showering their listeners with ideas, allusions and deconstructed melodies that charged the atmosphere with electricity and emotion. When they finished, the air I’d been breathing was stuck in my windpipe like a bruise. After an ovation I didn’t think was long or vociferous enough, their mandolin player returned on stage alone and encored with a prelude that Bach had written for violin.”

Have you read ‘Wayfaring Stranger‘? What do you think about it?

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I read Emma John’s first book ‘Following On‘, which is on cricket, recently, and I loved it so much that I decided to read her newest book ‘Self-Contained : Scenes from a Single Life‘. This one came out just ten days back and so it is literally hot off the press.

The book starts with a party to which Emma John is invited. She appears to be the only single person out there. At some point someone asks her the inevitable question – whether she is single or has a partner. Emma John takes off from there and explores the single life from different perspectives – as a sister, as a daughter, as a friend who hangs out with guys, as a woman with many girlfriends, as a woman whose roommate and best friend is a guy who is gay, as an aunt who is single, as a romantic partner who finds it hard to settle down. Emma John is frank and honest when she shares her story and the story of her family and friends, and sometimes she takes an unflinching look at herself which must have required an incredible amount of bravery and courage. Sometimes it is frustrating to read about the things she does, but it is hard not to admire her courage in sharing it. Through the book Emma John highlights the good things that the single life has to offer, while also talking about the things that single people yearn for, which they don’t have.

I loved ‘Self-Contained‘. It is a beautiful, insightful, thought-provoking book. It talks about an unconventional facet of life which is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. I’d like to say that it is a celebration of single life, but I don’t think it is. I think it is a nuanced portrayal of single life in all its complexity. I’m glad I read it.

I’ll leave you with a couple of my favourite passages from the book.

“Some say there is a state of flow inherent to manual pursuits, a hypnotic effect that encourages a mindful calm, and it is true that you can’t act out your anger with a roller brush (at least, not without splattering yourself). That night was my proof, however, that you can both paint yourself into a corner and decorate yourself into a depression. The moon was high outside the window by the time I gave up.”

“I often had fantasies about living in the past. A privileged past, obviously; I wasn’t interested in the world my real ancestors inhabited, struggling to keep their dozen children alive in a Welsh mining village or blacking the stoves of an east London slumlord. No, my escapism was born from a heady mix of my two favourite TV shows: Poirot, starring David Suchet, and Jeeves and Wooster, with my comic heroes Fry and Laurie in the eponymous roles. Both aired on ITV during my highly impressionable teenage years. The lead performances were sufficient to colour me obsessed; the intoxicating production design evoked a universe of its own. I quickly applied myself to the books too, reading and rereading them long after the plots had ceased to hold any surprises. Then came Dorothy L Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey stories and Brideshead Revisited – both the novel and the Anthony Andrews version. From then on, I immersed myself in pretty much anything that involved aristocrats, monocles or spats. Whenever I was bored of my surroundings – which happened frequently enough – I wished, with a passion that outweighed reason, that I had been born into the pages of these golden-age stories rather than my dull, unglamorous real life. I reimagined myself as one of their characters: a sharp-tongued, shingle-haired socialite with a devil-may-care attitude and a cigarette holder poised seductively between her lips. Her outline was drawn from 1930s detective stories and shaded with the devastating hauteur of a young Katharine Hepburn. She had the wise-cracking wit of Dorothy Parker, the intemperance of Zelda Fitzgerald and the stylistic flair of Elsa Schiaparelli. She was the sum of everything I wished I could be but wasn’t.”

Have you read ‘Self-Contained‘? What do you think about it?

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I got Emma John’s cricket memoir ‘Following On : A Memoir of Teenage Obsession and Terrible Cricket‘ a few years back. I finally got around to reading it.

Emma John and her sister visit their parents during a holiday. During the post lunch family chat, her dad goes to the basement and brings a big package. It contains cricket posters that Emma made when she was a teenager in the ’90s. It makes her nostalgic about the ’90s and about the English cricket team of that time. That team was regarded as a bunch of losers, because they lost a lot of matches. Emma wonders why she was obsessed with that team and followed their matches passionately. She decides to investigate. She also talks to some of the players from that era. The result is this book.

Following On‘ is a beautiful love letter to cricket, to a cricket team, to being a cricket fan. It is also a beautiful book about being a teenager, about growing up, about coming-of-age. I loved Emma John’s descriptions of the players and the matches. I also loved the interviews at the present time that she did with some of the players and the contrasts she discovered between how she imagined they would be and how they actually are. I was happy that many of the players I admired were featured – Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart, Nasser Hussain, Jack Russell, Andy Caddick. I was happy that the maverick Phil Tufnell was featured. Even Alan Mullally was there. It was nice to know that John Crawley is now a teacher in school and Jack Russell is now a painter. It made me think of Chris Tavaré, who after his cricketing days were over, went back to teaching biology in high school. There is something charming about that – cricketers going on to do completely unrelated things, after their cricketing career is over. I remember Evan Chatfield became a taxi driver and Colin Croft became a pilot and Mike Brearley became a therapist and Kirmani became a banker. I would have loved to meet Chris Tavaré, the biology teacher, and attend his class 😊

The book also talks about how Emma’s mom introduced her to cricket, and how they watched cricket matches together and shared the highs and the lows, and how they continue doing it to this day, going to Lord’s or the Oval and watching a match and making a picnic out of it. I loved this part of the book.

Emma’s favourite cricketer from that time was Michael Atherton and the first thought that crossed my mind was whether she has covered the two most important things that happened during Atherton’s captaincy – his legendary 185 (not out) against Donald and company, and the time he declared the England innings when Graeme Hick was batting on 98. Emma covers them in detail and it was wonderful to read that.

I think Emma John’s book is cricket’s answer to Nick Hornby’sFever Pitch‘. It is beautifully written and it wonderfully evokes that particular era. I loved it. This book is also unique because there are not many contemporary books written by women writers on cricket (I know of only Sharda Ugra and Tanya Aldred who write on cricket) and so Emma John is breaking new ground here.

I’ll leave you with two of my favourite passages from the book.

“I’ve always preferred watching my teams bowl to watching them bat. When your team are batting, your instinct is to maintain the status quo, and you don’t really want to see anything dramatic happen. At least, I don’t. I certainly didn’t in the 1990s, when England’s middle order carried a hairline fracture that could snap at any second, and I would watch an entire batting session through my fingers, praying desperately for nothing exciting or noteworthy to take place. When your team are in the field, however, you’re willing the action on. Perhaps even more so when things are going badly. Sure, your bowling attack may be getting thrashed around the park right now, but it only takes a single ball to get a batsman out. Nothing can rob you of that tiny moment of hope when the ball leaves the bowler’s hand. Every delivery is a miniature grenade of possibility.”

“It is fatal for a sportsman to start doubting himself, or his ability to win. By contrast, sports fans have to come to terms with the fact that we are, by and large, losers. Unless we win the lottery of life…we know that at any time the spectre of defeat is likely to cross our paths and ruin our day, our week, our year. We hazard ourselves, again and again, and we aren’t even doing it for the exercise. We’re not gaining physical benefits, or a social life, or status in the eyes of our peers. We’re doing it solely for the hope of a hit of victory, and a vicarious one at that. It’s a strange choice we make, to stake our emotions so wholeheartedly upon such meaningless outcomes. Sport is, by its nature, utterly trivial; a team’s success or failure doesn’t matter anywhere outside of its own universe. I suspect that this is why, paradoxically, we overinvest ourselves. We go all in, like a goldrush victim spying a fleck of something glittery in the ground. When our team win, we’re an instant millionaire; when they lose, we’re bankrupts. That’s the only way I can explain why fans like me keep supporting teams that keep letting us down. We’ve given so much of ourselves to this fictitious universe that we can’t withdraw from it until it has paid us back in good feelings. We become trapped in that gambler’s mentality. No matter what trophies our team win, or how far down the league we fall, we can never get out. As long as there’s another fixture, as long as there’s a revenge match, our sporting narrative goes on.”

Have you read Emma John’sFollowing On‘? What do you think about it?

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I was in the mood for more cricket books and I decided to read Neville Cardus’ autobiography.

Neville Cardus was one of the greatest cricket writers – of his time and of all-time. Old-timers will probably say that he was THE one. He elevated cricket reporting and sports journalism to art. His prose was the very definition of purple. In addition to cricket writing, he was also a music critic, something which is less talked about.

Cardus’ autobiography is divided into three parts. In the first part called ‘Struggle’, Cardus describes his life from his birth through his teens and twenties, when things were really hard for him. In the second part ‘My Summers’, he describes his cricket experiences. In the third part ‘My Winters’ he describes his experiences as a music critic. Throughout the book, especially the third part, he talks about mentors and friends who influenced his life deeply.

My favourite part of the book was the first. The bare facts of the story are these. Cardus lived his early years in a joint family kind of situation with his mom, grandparents and aunts. His mom was a prostitute. So was his favourite aunt who brought him up. Cardus never knew who his dad was. He had just four years of formal schooling and hated it. He left school when he was 13. At some point his grandparents died, the family broke up, his favourite aunt took him to live with her but then she died too, and he was literally on the streets. From these surroundings filled with extreme poverty and with no future in sight, how Cardus managed to acquire the knowledge and education he had and how he became one of the greatest prose stylists of his time, is the stuff of dreams, it is the stuff of legend. It is nothing short of a miracle. I got goosebumps reading that story.

I enjoyed reading the second part of the book too because it was about cricket. I especially liked what Cardus wrote about Archie MacLaren. For a long time, Archie MacLaren’s name was the answer to the quiz question – “Who scored the last quadruple century in county cricket?” It was nice to see the real Archie MacLaren come alive through the pages of this book. It was also wonderful to read Cardus’ thoughts on Victor Trumper and his descriptions of Lancashire cricket.

The third part of the book was interesting, but I also felt that it was very specific to classical music of that period. I love classical music, but I don’t think I can read a lot about specific concerts, composers, conductors at one time. Classical music fans will probably love that part of the book. But I loved some of the things that Cardus said about classical music.

The book ends at around the eve of the Second World War. Cardus was around till 1975, and so we don’t know what happened in his second innings. I also read somewhere that Cardus was married, but he doesn’t breathe about it in the book. It is as if his wife never existed. I don’t know why. His readers would have liked to see the family-man side of him and would have liked to get acquainted with his wife.

I enjoyed reading Cardus’ autobiography. The first part was very inspiring and it gave me goosebumps. If a guy who came from extreme poverty with four years of formal schooling can become one of the greatest prose stylists, there is some hope for us all.

I’ll leave you with some of my favourite passages from the book.

“Music, I say again, came to me by grace. A man is not boasting when he claims to have received grace. The things that we are praised for in this world, our “successes,” are exactly the things for which we do not deserve credit; successes are easy, they come by grace. It is our failures that go sadly by without recognition of the effort and talent we have put into them; single-handed we hammered them out, but inspiration left us in the lurch.”

“In his last few years he helped me, less by any precise instruction than by his company. For hours we sat in cafés in Manchester, deep under the earth on winter afternoons; his talk was a fire; not a crackling one but as a glowing hearth, steady and warm without obvious combustion. Once in June, after sunset, very late and still, he leaned over the gate of his garden and talked to me of Shakespeare’s lyrics and of the fragility of loveliness in life. The air was full of the scent of his own flowers; and the wisdom of his speech, genial yet deep, seemed part of the beauty of the summer night.”

“Stendhal said that for him a landscape needed to possess some history or human interest. For me a place must have a genius in the air, a sort of distillation of years, a pathos of perspective, a mist of distance. In a word, it must have ghosts of lost wandering life, now forgotten by the extrovert and contemporary world. Historical and archæological interest is prosaic for me; I do not particularly wish to see the house in which the greatest poet was born; but to walk from Grinzing down to Vienna on a September evening, as twilight deepens and the lights of the city begin to twinkle, and to feel the sense of the past, almost to hear the vanished beauty and song whispering in rustle of leaf or wind, and in some hurrying footfalls on the roadside; to feel an awareness to all the hearts that have beaten here, the hopes and the strivings in these old houses, huddled in deserted gardens; birth and marriage and death; the comings-home at the day’s end, the glow of candlelight and wine and fellowship that surely seemed perennial and everlasting; the security of life at the crest, and now not only dead but lost to a world that must for ever be up and doing—this for me, is to live and to “go places.” Every great city is a palimpsest not of facts and events but of atmosphere and feeling, shaped by the irony of transition. That means I cannot enter into an unexplored land, a new land, where nature has not acquired an æsthetic and a pathos. Mountains and grand canyons and plains and mighty rivers are only so much geography in my eyes; mere contour-maps built on a large scale. A sunset in the Indian Ocean once bowled me over because it was like the closing scene of Götterdämmerung. I suppose I am a far-gone case of the Ruskinian “pathetic” fallacy; the external universe must appeal to me as a theatre or as a series of dissolving views, with the lantern turned inwards to my own soul.”

Have you read Cardus’ autobiography? What do you think about it?

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After reading Gideon Haigh’s book on Victor Trumper, I was in the mood to read another cricket book. I was wondering whether I should read a book which will make me happy, have nice cricket anecdotes, or whether I should read one which was heartbreaking, which will make me wallow in misery. I decided to read the second one. I don’t know why I keep doing this.

I have wanted to read ‘Silence of the Heart : Cricket Suicides‘ by David Frith for a long time. It was hard to find. But I finally got to read it. The title of the book is inspired by Albert Camus’ line – “Suicide is prepared within the silence of the heart, as is a great work of art.

In this book, David Frith looks at all the cricketers who committed suicide, looks at their careers, their highs and lows, their personal lives, and tries to investigate why they did what they did. He also compares cricket’s suicide rates with other sports, and asks the question on whether the game might be responsible for what these cricketers did.

The cricket part of the book is very beautiful. I learnt about so many new cricketers about whom I didn’t know anything. One of my favourite anecdotes was about the South African cricketer Aubrey Faulkner, who as a teenager once saw his dad assaulting his mom and he went and defended his mom and beat up his dad. There are some good sons still out there. Not everyone is patriarchal.

One of my favourite cricket anecdotes was about Tommy Cook who played county cricket in the 1920s and ’30s. This is how it goes.

“Among those 169 catches was one at Hastings in 1926 that might have tested today’s television technology. Arthur Carr of Nottinghamshire, England’s captain against Australia that summer and a mighty hitter, straight-drove Bowley and had the crowd applauding a certain six – until Cook, fielding in front of the sightscreen, leaped up and parried the ball goalkeeper-fashion before catching it in an outstretched right hand. Dudley Carew wrote that he would never forget ‘the almost comical look of anxiety upon Cook’s face as he judged the flight of the ball before jumping for it’.”

This is the kind of catch is amazing today, nearly a hundred years later. I have seen a few contemporary fielders take such amazing catches. To discover that it has all been done a hundred years back – it gave me goosebumps!

It was amazing to read about the cricketing exploits of 19th century greats, A.E.Stoddart, Arthur Shrewsbury and Albert Trott. It was so hard to believe that all these greats took their own lives. So heartbreaking. It was interesting to discover that the great cricket writer, R.C.Robertson-Glasgow, was a good player himself, and it was wonderful to read that he was a great person and made people laugh. It was also heartbreaking to read that he went through years of depression and one day he took his own life. I knew that David Bairstow (father of current English cricketer Jonny Bairstow) committed suicide,  and so did Harold Gimblett (because there was a book written about him), but I was surprised to discover that great players like Jack Iverson and Sid Barnes (who played for Bradman’s 1948 invincibles) also did that. The unbelievable case was that of Stan McCabe who fell from the top floor of his building. There were rumours for years that it was suicide (why would one of Australia’s greatest, Stan McCabe, do that?), but the coroner returned a verdict of accident. Some people are still not convinced with the official report. The most heartbreaking story was that of little known South African cricketer Siegfried Regenstein, who, one day, when he was just 28 years old, called his girlfriend and told her that things were getting very hard for him, and while his girlfriend was trying to comfort him on the phone and make him feel better, he took a gun and shot himself. I can’t imagine what kind of trauma his girlfriend would have gone through at the other end of the phone line, when she heard the shot.

Silence of the Heart‘ is an important book. It is a heartbreaking book. It is very different from David Frith’s other books, which are mostly filled with cricket. The cricket part of the book was very enjoyable, the suicide part of it was heartbreaking, the analysis part of it was inconclusive. I would like to say that I loved it, but how can I do that when a book is filled with devastating, tragic stories? But I will say this – I am glad I read it.

My mom was a very positive person. She always believed that the world was filled with beautiful, happy things and if there were bad things, they were few and far between. My dad on the other hand was the opposite – he believed that the world was filled with bad things and happy and beautiful things were few and far between and if something looked beautiful and happy, it should be regarded with suspicion as it was too good to be true. I believed in my mom’s vision. It has sustained me through life till now. But after reading this book, I am wondering whether my dad’s vision is closer to the truth. Because happiness seems to be elusive, while depression seems to be ever present.

Well, to uplift my mood, it is time to pick a sunny book to reflect the sunny weather outside.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite passages from the book.

“Cricket is only superficially a team game. Essentially it is a lonely game, one for the keen individual, with multiple odds stacked against him. In this it is a fairly faithful reflection of life. And it offers regular opportunities to achieve sporting heroism. In addition, the fellowship that reaches well beyond the boundary and beyond the confined period of one’s own playing days is a great force for good. These are elements in tempting cricketers to play on and on. One county cricketer, playing for his third county club, did not mind the fact that the grounds on which he kept wicket and batted were usually almost empty. His name was in all the newspapers almost every day and in the annuals which will line the bookshelves. His life had meaning. He shared an attitude with Vin Diesel, one of the stars of the movie Saving Private Ryan, who said, ‘I like film-making so much more than theatre. I like the immortality.’”

Have you read ‘Silence of the Heart‘? What do you think about it?

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I have always wanted to sneak in a cricket book into a reading challenge, and so I was excited to read Gideon Haigh’sStroke of Genius : Victor Trumper and the shot that changed cricket‘ for ‘April in Australia’.

Gideon Haigh is Australia’s premier cricket writer and cricket historian today. This is my first book of his. In this book, Haigh gives us a biography of Victor Trumper, one of Australia’s greatest cricketers, who played before the First World War. Haigh also focuses on the photo which appears on this book’s cover, which is one of the most iconic cricket photos. Through this photo, Haigh explores the early history of cricket photography. Haigh also shines the light on the growth of the Trumper myth and legend across the decades, after his death.

Victor Trumper was one of Australia’s greatest cricketers. He played during what is sometimes described as the golden age of cricket, which ended with the advent of the First World War. He was one of the first Australian sportspersons to be loved outside his country. Since his time, there have been many great Australian cricketers who have come on the scene, especially the great Donald Bradman, who was frequently compared to him. But Trumper’s life story has assumed the state of a legendary myth filled with magical feats which seem to be beyond compare. This book describes some of those feats, some of those stories. There was a particular description that Gideon Haigh quotes from Arthur Mailey’s book – I cried when I read that.

Stroke of Genius‘ is a beautiful love letter to the great Victor Trumper. It is also a fascinating introduction to the history of cricket photography. I loved it and I am glad I read it.

Have you read ‘Stroke of Genius‘? What do you think about it?

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