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SALAAM STANLEY MATTHEWS,  Granta Books, London,  2006.

Publisher's blurb:
"Subrata Dasgupta was six years old when his parents came to Britain from Calcutta in 1950.  In his affectionate portrait of a Britain that seems as foreign to us now as it was to him then he recalls what it was like growing up in the 1950s; holidays in Blackpool, the dreaded Eleven-Plus and the first stirrings of rock and roll.  He quickly falls in love with his new country, but no one can answer the questions that trouble him most: why can't the British pronounce his name when he can pronounce theirs?  Can you be both British and Indian?  And can you support two football teams -- Blackpool and Derby County -- at the same time?  Above all, the book tells the story of Subrata Dasgupta's devotion to Stanley Matthews, the greatest footballer of the day, known as the 'first gentleman of soccer' because he was never booked and never sent off.  For Subrata Dasgupta, and for many millions, he represented all that was best about Britain."


"... fascinating recreation of the experience of being a small brown boy in the very white world of England half a century ago."  Richard Williams in The Guardian  (UK)

"This is a book around football rather than about football.  It is a funny, touching, illuminating story about the collision and collusion between two utterly dissimilar cultures -- Indian and English.  It is a tale of absorption and assimilation; and it is an account of how a six-year-old boy from Calcutta learnt to love and call England his home."  The Observer (UK)

"... an enjoyable account of the drama inherent in relationships forged across cultures."  The Independent (UK)

"Dasgupta's youthful fixation with football in general and Matthews in particular allows his memoir to combine two now almost over familiar strands of life-writing, the 'immigrant experience' and the sports obsessive, to produce a thoughtful composite that makes up in charm what it lacks in incident ... a fitting metaphor for a vanished time, of false certainties and of prejudice, admittedly, but also of innocence and love of a game for the game's sake."  The Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"Dasgupta writes with a beautiful economy of style, a wry eye for the ridiclulous and tremendous talen for bald, childlike observation."  Scotland on Sunday (UK).

"A simple unaffected tale, a little gem in fact."  Asian News (UK).

"... this poignant reflection of a young Indian immigrant's experience growing up in post-war England ..."  Morning Star (UK)

" ... a wonderful picture of Derby in the early 1950s, as seen through the eyes of a little brown boy from a different culture, yet one who became as typical a British schoolboy as it is possible to imagine . . .  a lovely story ..."  Derby Telegraph  (UK)

"SALAAM STANLEY MATTHEWS ... is not just  about football but about the English way of life and what happened when the English way of life met the Indian way of life ... Kipling once wrote that East is East and West is West and the twain shall never meet.  Dasgupta brilliantly refutes this outrageous racist thesis ..."  New World (UK)

"... a sweet, sad memoir of finding a kind of home in his love of football, then losing it again when ... his parents took him back to India."  The Guardian (UK)

"... Subrata Dasgupta shows how sport provided a basis for the formation of his own identity in 1950s Britain."  Cultural Geographies (UK)

"His reminiscence ... of an adolescent growing up in a strange land provides a unique account of Fifties England."  Oldie (UK)

"A delightful book ... Dasgupta is a faithful, honest and deadpan chronicler."  Indian Express (India)

" ... a funny yet sensitive tale about an encounter between two cultures -- India and England. ... Read it for its memoir-like quality as well as as ruminations on race and identity."   Tehelka (India)

"This sense of a lived adolescence is what makes the memoir engaging ... a warm, thoughtful memoir about growing up in the middle of the 20th century, growing up between two worlds and thriving."  The Hindu (India)

"This book ... uses football more as a metaphor than a storyline ... Dasgupta bases the book's title on a meeting with Matthews when he was a young lad, but this is essentially about the immigrant life with a strong Bengali flavor, and its endless paradoxes ...  a story well told ..."   India Today (India).

"... a charming portrait of a child growing up in the provincial market town of Derbyshire and developing a 'home' and 'away' life ... an unsentimental portrait of life in a time and place that is no more ..."  Outlook India (India)

"... a book where Christmas carols mingle with the noise of a crackling radio in a Calcutta bylane in the most delightful way possible."  The Telegraph (India)

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