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'A fabulous novel. Inga Simpson brings all her craft and sensitivity to a story that has never been told, and now that she has done it, it feels like this was a story that was needing to be told. With her art, Inga joins the likes of Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy in the vanguard of cricket's exciting new revolution. Long may it last' Malcolm Knox

From the critically acclaimed author of Mr Wigg comes an enthralling literary novel about a batmaker and a gifted young cricketer, set around the time the game began changing. For fans of Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding and Joseph O'Neill's Netherland.

Cricket has a willow heart. Batmakers around the world have tried everything, crafting bats from birch, maple, ash, even poplars . . . After two hundred years, cricket bat making is still beholden to a single species: salix alba caerulea - or white willow

Reader Cricket Bats, one of the last traditional batmakers back in the old country, has a contemporary home in the Antipodes, with Allan Reader keeping the family business alive in a small workshop. Allan lives alone, all but estranged from his adult daughter, quietly going about his days with the cricket commentary for company.

When Todd Harrow, a gifted young batter, catches Allan's eye, a spark is lit and Allan decides to make a Reader bat for him, selecting the best piece of willow he's harvested in years to do so.

As Harrow charts a meteoric rise to the highest echelons of the sport, leaving his equally talented sister's dreams in his wake, Allan's magical bat takes centre stage as well, awakening something in Allan and bringing him back into himself. But can Allan's fledgling renaissance - hanging as it does on the magic of that bat - carry on after Harrow is cursed by injury and a strained personal life?

Set as the new short form of the game began to gain prominence, Willowman is a love letter to the art and beauty of cricket and a meditation on the inner lives of certain kinds of men and women, for whom it is a way of life. Award-winning author Inga Simpson writes exquisitely about a national sport you will never view the same way again.