‘WOW. Western Lane is glorious. You’ll want to read it over and over again.‘ - Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger
A taut, enthralling first novel about grief, sisterhood, and a young athlete‘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.
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.
The New York Times
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.
Wall Street Journal
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.
Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger