The Match

Romesh Gunesekera, Author
Romesh Gunesekera, Author New Press $24.95 (308p) ISBN 978-1-59558-198-3
Reviewed on: 12/31/2007
Release date: 01/01/2008
A Sri Lankan man mired in nostalgia pursues elusive passions in this fourth, bittersweet novel from award-winning Gunesekera (Heaven's Edge). Sunny Fernando, naïve and given to elaborate fantasies, arrives at the turning point in his adolescence when a cricket match brings him into close contact with fellow Sri Lankan Tina Navratanam. Sunny suffers painful disillusionment when he thinks that he has lost Tina to a friend, which leads in turn to a discovery about his mother's death. Throughout the novel, Gunesekara offers up rich characters, including Sunny's father's best friend Hector, an amiable, patient man who acts as a fairy godfather to Sunny. Delightfully cadenced dialogue reflects both the era and place, especially once Sunny leaves Manila behind for college in England. Once there he repeats the pattern of abandoning reality for visions of the past. As he moves through the seminal moments of his life-falling in love, having a child, reuniting with friends and finally visiting the country of his birth-he struggles with a sense of ""existing in a special world of his own making."" Gunesekara regards his characters with affectionate indulgence as he paints the evolution of intertwined lives, with the hopeful suggestion that even seemingly ingrained character flaws can be overcome.
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