As a teenager from Sri Lanka, Sunny is living the typical life of an expatriate in 1970s Manila?a privileged, carefree existence?until one day when the secret behind his mother?s tragic death years earlier is accidentally revealed to him, turning Sunny?s world upside down. His life takes a series of unexpected turns?first in England, where he falls in love with the luminous Clara, and later in Sri Lanka, where he returns during a brief lull in the country?s brutal ethnic war.


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The Match

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As a teenager from Sri Lanka, Sunny is living the typical life of an expatriate in 1970s Manila—a privileged, carefree existence—until one day when the secret behind his mother’s tragic death years earlier is accidentally revealed to him, turning Sunny’s world upside down. His life takes a series of unexpected turns—first in England, where he falls in love with the luminous Clara, and later in Sri Lanka, where he returns during a brief lull in the country’s brutal ethnic war.

Reminiscent of V.S. Naipaul in his nuanced treatment of the melancholy of exile, Gunesekera takes the reader on an utterly absorbing journey across the late twentieth-century postcolonial world. Spanning three continents and thirty years, The Match is a “beautiful and atmospheric” (Irish Times) exploration of the nature of loss and displacement, the search for identity and love, and the possibility, in the end, of redemption and renewal.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

A poet and a novelist whose The Reefwas shortlisted for the Booker, Gunesekera tackles some soulful topics, including the effects of time and spatial relations on life, the meaning of home and family, and friends from past lives and lost loves. In a skillfully drawn narrative, we are shown glimpses of Sunny Fernando's childhood and adolescence in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sunny moves to London to attend engineering school but withstands his father's disapproval to drop out and eventually become a photographer. With the language of a poet, the author lets us understand how Sunny sees the world as he constantly seeks for the perfect photo that will capture everything in his heart. The novel climaxes at a cricket match, where Sunny meets old friends and a lost love, snapping the perfect photo that will give his soul peace. Strongly recommended for all libraries.
—Lisa Rohrbaugh

Kirkus Reviews
While the title refers to a cricket match, the book's real action is played out against a volatile background of political revolution in Sri Lanka. Sunny is a young man growing up in Manila, though his father, a journalist, is originally from Sri Lanka. As a boy, Sunny is enamored of two things: cricket and Tina, and both obsessions converge in a match in which Tina, a natural at the sport, helps Sunny's team eke out a victory. Almost immediately after the flush of this achievement, however, Sunny's world starts to fall apart when he discovers that his mother's "accidental" death was actually a suicide-and he blames his father for her self-destruction. His life takes another unexpected turn when he travels to London to study engineering, a field he has almost no interest in. For a time, what does absorb him is the swinging capital itself, though he discovers that his friend Lydia, who is studying meteorology there, spends her time measuring old rocks, not partying. "So much for hedonism," he concludes. Sunny's life continues to unfold in unpredictable ways, especially after he meets and marries radiant Clara. Abandoning engineering, Sunny opens a photography studio with tepid results. He and Clara have a son, Mikey, who grows up much more interested in rock music than in cricket or in his parents' heritage. Eventually Sunny's domestic world begins to fragment, and he decides to visit Sri Lanka. The final cricket match Sunny witnesses becomes an epiphany, for he is graced with a circumscribed but nevertheless momentous realization that "things could be renewed," and that he can use words to "bring peace to his own mind if not to the world."The latest from Gunesekera (Heaven's Edge, 2003,etc.) is a gentle story of awakening and regeneration.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595581983
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 1/1/2008
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Romesh Gunesekera is the author of Monkfish Moon, Reef, The Sandglass, The Match, and Noontide Toll (all published by The New Press). He grew up in Sri Lanka and the Philippines and now lives in London.
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