This novel by Helen Yeomans is a story of an amateur golfer from Nepal playing in the Masters. It is one of the best sports fiction stories I have ever read - and I have read quite a few good ones. Here is my review of "Ang Tak' - translation: "Little Tiger" (and no, that has nothing to do with Tiger Woods).
“Ang Tak” by Helen Yeomans
Golf, fiction, Masters, Nepal, amateur
March 1, 2012
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
Imagine being an amateur golfer living a dream by playing in one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf, the Masters in Augusta, Georgia. Also imagine that you have a dark secret that no one else knows and this happened in your native country of Nepal.
That is the brief background of Tony Pinasa, the protagonist in Helen Yeomans’ outstanding novel of golf, loss, sportsmanship and character all wrapped up in the setting of the Augusta National course. While Tony is the main character the story follows, many parts are also told through the viewpoint of Tony’s caddie Kat, who also has to deal with a loss of her own.
The story is richly written with beautiful descriptions of the course and the interactions between Kat and Tony on many shots. For casual fans who may think the caddies are just there to carry the golfer’s bag, rake the bunkers and wipe off the clubs after each shot, Kat’s description of what she has to do between shots and also before and after each round will be a wake-up call. The thinking that goes into each shot – what club to use, how the grass and greens are playing, the wind, how big a swing the golfer should take – they are all part of the dialogue between Tony and Kat and will keep a golf fan or player glued to the book.
The unique atmosphere and experience of the Masters is described, right down to the pimento cheese sandwiches that Kat gathers for herself and Tony during the rounds. Amen Corner, Rae’s Creek, the approach to the eighteenth green – all are captured in a manner that television coverage alone doesn’t do.
Tony’s heritage is not forgotten and is a key element in the story as well. There are flashbacks to his life in Nepal and there are scenes from the American Embassy where national officials are watching to see if the native son can pull off the feat of being the first amateur to win the prestigious tournament. There is a secret from his days back home, however, and it explains some of Tony’s temper. Even how this is revealed, during the press conference after the Saturday round, was a terrific twist in the story and another highlight that makes this novel one of the better sports fiction pieces that I have read.
Whether a reader wants to pick this up for the golf, for the characters or just for an inspiring story, this book will certainly fit that need. It is one that any reader who enjoys fictional sports stories should read.
I wish to thank Ms. Yeomans for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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