Googlies in Dublin and Madrid

By Rohan Kamicheril

The Guardian has a story on Ian Gibson's Viento del Sur (Wind of the South), which was recently published in Spain and is rapidly selling out its printrun. The twist in this otherwise ordinary publishing success story is that though Gibson has been a Spanish national for over 20 years, he was born and educated in Dublin. How strange, then, that he turns to Spanish to write his book, which by all appearances, seems to consist in fairly round criticism of British society, and of what he sees as its innate snobbery and duplicitousness. Among the places he finds signs of the latter is in the googly, the cricketing term given to a ball delivered to spin the wrong way after it bounces, so as to catch the receiving batsman off guard.

One would think that the postcolonial climate would give any dissenting observer free enough rein to raise heck in their native language, but Gibson's book demonstrates how difficult the proposition of post-colonialism is, and how useful the camouflage of a foreign language can be. Whatever your take on the pitfalls of modern British society or the moral propriety of trick-bowling in international cricket, the book sounds like it provides an interesting intersection of cultures and language, even if only through its misgivings.


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