The Match by Romesh Gunesekera - review by Sebastian Shakespeare

Sebastian Shakespeare

Far From Home

The Match


Bloomsbury 320pp £14.99

The Match is about a man trying to make sense of his multi-cultural identity. Born in Colombo and brought up in Manila, Sunny Fernando emigrates to England, where he gives up his engineering degree to become a photographer. But he finds it hard to focus on his place in the world. To paraphrase T S Eliot, he is dislocated from dislocation by dislocation:

In his life he had never felt he knew anything for sure ... the doubt never stopped growing inside, slowly, inexorably distorting everything.

If the themes of exile and emigration seem wearisomely familiar, their execution is less prosaic. Romesh Gunesekera has a lightness of touch and a wry tone which mark him out from many more fashionable novelists.

Sunny's name belies his rather dispiriting parentage. His father is an alcoholic ex-hack and his pianist mother died when he was eight. The first part of the book is set during his childhood in the Philippines. We meet his playmates Robby and Herbie, and his father's best friend Hector, and

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March

Follow Literary Review on Twitter