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The Test

Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Awards, 2019

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472129529

Price: £8.99

‘Engaging and enjoyable . . . as probing and as penetrative as a Jimmy Anderson opening spell . . . This is no ordinary novel by no ordinary novelist’ Sunday Times

‘A fine addition to the painfully thin oeuvre of modern fictional works about cricket’ Mike Atherton, The Times

‘Outstanding’ Mail on Sunday

‘If all you know is cricket, then cricket will break you . . .’

It is the final Test match of The Ashes. A nation expects, and the rest of the cricketing world is watching.

Fast-paced, humorous and candid, The Test follows the battles on and off the field as stand-in England captain, James McCall, tries to get his exhausted team across the finish line. Along the way, his story becomes one of fatherhood, friendship and trusting yourself when no one else will.

Nathan Leamon’s love letter to Test cricket is that rare thing: a novel that captures the feel and flavour of professional sport from the inside – the good, the bad and the simply surreal.

Not since J. L. Carr’s classic A Season in Sinji has there been a novel that quite captures the spirit of the game.

Included in Wisden Cricket Monthly‘s Finest Cricket Books Ever Written


I loved reading this book. It grabbed my attention from the outset and held it right up until the end. The feel of the dressing room, the thoughts, doubts and emotions that affect even the best competitors, and the descriptions of the life of an international cricketer are all hauntingly familiar
Andy Flower
Nathan Leamon's ambitious and gripping novel has the ring of truth about it - as befits a voice coming from a detached place within the England dressing room
Mike Brearley
There is no novel that captures first class professional cricket: the village green, yes, club games, yes, but not the real top end stuff. Indeed, I have never been convinced that such a fiction is even do-able. Well, Nathan Leamon's The Test settles the argument
Jonathan Smith
Engaging and enjoyable . . . as probing and as penetrative as a Jimmy Anderson opening spell . . . This is no ordinary novel by no ordinary novelist
Nick Greenslade, Sunday Times
It's that authenticity, a feel for the cadences and limits of the vernacular of professional cricketers, and for their daily routines, that Leamon makes most vivid . . . Leamon is excellent too on what comes next, the existential nature of batting that offers the game its psychological pivot . . . Leamon has had a direct line into this authenticity, and it takes a writer to bring it out . . . I hope Nathan Leamon writes more
Jon Hotten, Wisden Cricket Monthly
Outstanding first novel . . . The book deserves a readership beyond the narrow circle of cricket buffs. The characterisation is excellent, and the writing has a crispness from which novelists with more literary pretensions could learn
Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday
Brave and humane . . . authentic reflection of life inside a Test match dressing room . . . a work of fiction possessing an authenticity that can only come from experience . . . There are many ways of approaching this book. All are valid and all are rewarding . . . This freshman novelist has dug deep into fresh turf. He has taken a subject that most people thought too technical for fiction . . . The Test is, as it were, the real McCall
Paul Edwards, ESPN
An ambitious warts-and-all peek into the inner sanctum of the England dressing room . . . a fine addition to the painfully thin oeuvre of modern fictional works about cricket . . . You will have realised that this is no romantic take on professional sport, rather a faithful one. Leamon weaves the strands together expertly, finding moments to teach and inform readers about the endless fascination of the five-day game, while the narrative of the final Test of the Ashes series rumbles along to its epic, heartfelt rather than Hollywood, conclusion
Mike Atherton, The Times