Blurb: A fresh and promising new voice on the literary landscape – The New Indian Express, I see you. Legs like toothpicks, body and face all ribs and cheekbones. And that hair. Come on, what is it? Like friggin’ barbed wire. I see you with a hand me down cracked bat creaming a leather ball, in a sock, hanging from the branch of a mango tree. Being accepted into an elite international school on a cricket scholarship doesn’t mean your life is going to change. Except it does, because hunky Indika – I for Indika, I for Incredible – takes you under his wing, drags you to posh restaurants and shows you pictures from glossy magazines of women who? well, never mind, that’s not the point. The point is – if your best friend snogs your girlfriend, can he still be Incredible? Was he ever? But don’t sweat the small stuff. There are cricket matches to win, examinations to pass, a horrifying past to forget, a sinister schoolmaster to avoid and of course, a first kiss to finally experience. Prabu’s life is never going to be the same again. Funny, diamond sharp and unapologetic, Panther is a novel about that familiar, fractured passage to adulthood that can make us magnificent if it does not kill us.
About the Author: Chhimi Tenduf-La, Half Tibetan, half English, Chhimi Tenduf-La has lived in Sri Lanka, on and off, for thirty years. Educated at Eton and Durham, he runs an international school in Colombo, teaches economics and provides university counselling. He has written plays and fiction for local publications. His first book, The Amazing Racist, was published in 2015.
Review: To start with, the cover of the book gives a direct hint to the reader about the story. The map of Sri Lanka talks about the location of the story. Cricket being on the cover obvious says about the story in a better way. After reading Chimmi Tenduf-La debut novel ‘ The Amazing Racist’, I had more expectations from his second novel and fortunately he has kept it to it. Panther talks about protagonist named Prabhu who is deserted by his parents at a very early age and left to fend for himself in unwelcoming surroundings. The background of the story is set against a country striven by years of civil war between the Tamilians and the Sinhalese ethnic groups in Srilanka. Prabhu is an all-rounder who is extremely good at sports especially cricket. The story revolves around him and the sufferers of the war. His cricket talent helps him to make a mark and gain recognition in a society. It in addition helps him in getting admission is a prestigious school giving a taste of lifestyles of the upper stratum of society. The game of cricket helps him to find a friend in Indika, another good fellow cricketer and their partnership helps in winning the national junior cricket team trophy. The story keeps dodging into past and sets in present in every alternative chapters which created confusion initially. However, as the story went on the author could very well manage to balance the present and the past. The book is appealing to all the categories of readers. It takes the reader to Srilankan environment. To know what the title Panther means, it is a must to rea this book.
I write a lot, which keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. There is always something to write about, always a new story to craft. Not writing, for me, is like trying to hold back a sneeze. Learning to write was the most powerful influence in my life. I can still remember the awe I felt when I realized I could put real words onto paper and tell out a story. From that first ‘a-ha’ moment I knew I wanted to write.
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