Selection Day by Aravind Adiga (Picador, £8.99)
In his latest novel, Bookerwinning author Adiga uses cricket as the lens through which to study contemporary India, as an impoverished chutneyvendor in Mumbai raises his two sons, Radha and Manju, to be the best and second-best cricketers in the world. Or so he hopes. Surprisingly, Manju eclipses his brother, even though he’s more interested in watching CSI than playing cricket, but both boys attract the attention of legendary scout Tommy Sir, which brings serious money into the equation. It’s an engrossingly told story, in which Manju is tempted by his rich, Muslim and gay friend Javed to follow his heart and leave cricket behind. As always, the economic realities of India are uppermost in Adiga’s mind. He takes the opportunity to examine how corruption and the illusion of social mobility have infected the country’s institutions in this intelligent and sceptical critique, also drawing a parallel between cricket and India’s laws on homosexuality as redundant relics of colonial times.