Western Lane-booker Prize Longlist2023

Maroo, Chetna
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By (author) Maroo, Chetna
Short description/annotation
A deeply moving exploration of an immigrant father’s attempts to raise his family as a single parent, while consumed by his own grief and loss and struggling to recognize those of his children too.

''Few novelists write this simply and richly. With this gorgeous debut, Maroo blows most of the competition off the court.’ - The Times

''Terrific . . . Slim, subtle, moving . . . a bold book and a quietly brilliant one'' - The Economist

A beautiful and moving first novel about grief, sisterhood and a teenage girl''s struggle to transcend herself.

Eleven-year-old Gopi has been playing squash since she was old enough to hold a racket. When her mother dies, her father enlists her in a quietly brutal training regimen, and the game becomes her world. Slowly, she grows apart from her sisters. Her life is reduced to the sport, guided by its rhythms: the serve, the volley, the drive, the shot and its echo.

But on the court, she is not alone. She is with her pa. She is with Ged, a thirteen-year-old boy with his own formidable talent. She is with the players who have come before her. She is in awe.

An indelible coming-of-age story, Chetna Maroo’s first novel captures the ordinary and annihilates it with beauty. Western Lane is a valentine to innocence, to the closeness of sisterhood, to the strange ways we come to know ourselves and each other.

''[Western Lane] feels like the work of a writer who knows what they want to do, and who has the rare ability to do it.'' - The Guardian

Review quote
The beauty of Maroo’s novel lies in [its] unfolding, the narrative shaped as much by what is on the page as by what’s left unsaid . . . In this graceful novel, the game of squash becomes a way into Gopi’s grief and her attempts to process it.
Review quote
Melancholy is only one of the moods of this short but brimming book. Squash is also a channel for Gopi’s rage; for connections with other players and her longsuffering father; and for a joyous kind of freedom of expression. The novel ends with the tournament, as it must, and Ms. Maroo’s writing achieves its most graceful rhythms and prescient insights. You’ll want to applaud.
Review quote
Starting off as an intimate tone poem, this story of a squash-obsessed teenager expands into something with the amplitude, depth, and ringing power of a great symphony. In other words--WOW. Western Lane is glorious. You’ll want to read it over and over again.
Review quote
Combining the precision and the efficiency of an athlete with the mysteries of childhood loss and memory, Western Lane is a novel in which we linger on every breathing line and relish every close observation. What an exceptionally talented writer Chetna Maroo is!''
Review quote
[A] slim, subtle, moving story . . . about grief and growing up in a Gujarati family in Britain . . . A bold book [and] a quietly brilliant one.
Review quote
Chetna Maroo captures with great poignancy and accuracy the bewilderment and groping for meaning that loss brings—but also how small acts of kindness ultimately redeem us from this loss. Truly a gem of a novel, this deceptively simple story told in a sparse, elegant style kept revealing its depths long after I had closed its pages.
Review quote
Lean, agile, and quietly deadly, Western Lane is a coming-of-age story of extraordinary artistic maturity. It is a book of young people muscling themselves through unreconciled grief, and it is a book of simmering intensities, reverberating silences, and exquisite literary timing. This is a book to both share and treasure.
Biographical note
Chetna Maroo’s stories
More Information
Date Of Publication May 11, 2023
EAN 9781529094633
Contributors Maroo, Chetna
Publisher Picador
Languages English
Country of Publication United Kingdom
Width 144 mm
Height 224 mm
Thickness 23 mm
Product Forms Hardback
Audience Age 13+, 16+, All ages
Availability in Stores Achrafieh, ABC Dbayeh, Hamra, AUB University, ABC Verdun, ABC Achrafieh, Global
Weight 0.290000
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