Saturday, July 31, 2021

48. The Cricket Match by Hugh de Selincourt

Another street library find, along with a few other very British novels that I didn't take, that suggests to me an anglophile in the neighbourhood somewhere.  Though the game of cricket still utterly baffles me, I suspected this book would be enjoyable enough for everything else.  I am led to understand by the forward that this book is somewhat of a minor classic.

It takes place in a small British village in Sussex after WWI and before the threat of a second world war had started forming.  The whole thing takes place in a single day as we follow the various players on the village team as they prepare, play and celebrate a game of cricket against neighbour village Raveley.  There are conflicts and situations but nothing substantial gets resolved, there are no arcs, just the game and these people's (mainly men) lives.  

I really do not get cricket at all. Part of the problem here is also that even if I sort of understood how the game works (which I do very broadly), the vocab is completely lost on me.  Also, culturally, I can't always tell if some behaviour is an actual way of playing or if it is just British sportsmanship in this period.  It honestly felt like sometimes the opposing sides were working together.  Despite that, I was able to mostly follow what was going on and definitely enjoy myself and get caught up in the competition.  Even better, at times de Selincourt's descriptions of moments of athleticism were exciting and I wanted to reread them.  Somehow he really gets across the feel of the bat hitting the ball or a tough catch.

This was a very satisfying summer read.

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