the guardian Fri 31 July 2009
It's a hell of a story. An author writes a book, sends it to a publisher, and on the very day of its rejection discovers that he has received enough money from a relative's will to publish it himself. Charles Boyle assumed a female pen-name for publication and, after picking up some enthusiastic reviews, his debut has gained the backing of a major publisher, a cheery quote ("I loved it") from Mick Jagger, and a reissue in time for an Ashes summer. The novella sets a love triangle against an England-India Test match, as an unnamed woman drifts between her undemonstrative husband and a loss adviser she met after a conference, and worries about her teenage stepson, who has underlined his increasing detachment from his family by vanishing. As the five days of cricket pass and the mood moves from contemplation towards tension, parallels between sport and love are introduced but not over-worked, and our heroine realises she must choose ... Evocative and clever, this concise tale is engaging rather than resounding, a deft clip for two rather than a thrilling slog for six.