This is the story of city analyst, Hans van den Broek, looking back on the previous few years of his life. It begins in an unsettled New York in the aftermath of the 2001 terror attacks when his wife, Rachel, decides to return to the relative sanctuary of London with their young son, Jake. Left alone in New York, Hans explores the city and makes an unlikely friendship with the colourful character, Chuck Ramkissoon. Bonded by their mutual love of cricket they set about establishing a cricket club in New York.
This isn’t really a book about cricket, don’t worry, it is more of a collection of a quiet man’s thoughts. To begin with I found it somewhat rambling and not especially engaging and I struggled to find the beauty in it. But the book did grow on me and some things struck a chord. Hans is a thinker not a doer but he surrounds himself with dynamic people and then stands back and watches life happen. He is a frustrating character particularly as far as his marriage is concerned and his lack of action in trying to save it. It is not until he makes decisive moves himself that his life begins to improve and his destiny changes.
This book is beautifully written and I can see why it did well in the literary prizes. It is not plot driven but very thoughtful and philosophical and unfortunately it is not a book that has stayed with me such that, writing my review, I am wracking my brains trying to remember how I felt about it. I feel a bit mean giving it 3 stars as it is not a bad book and I did ultimately enjoy it but I can’t say I’d encourage people to read it with any enthusiasm.