Book Review: A Team of Extraordinary Bastards by Arka Datta

A Team of Extraordinary Bastards:

Publisher: Storymirror Info Tech Ltd

Genre: Fiction


Blurb (as on Goodreads):

Arya Sen is Destiny’s child, a young boy from Kolkata who is born to be the greatest the Football World has ever seen. The universe never fails to surprise him with good fortunes as he embarks on his journey from Kolkata to all over the world. But, just when he starts to believe that nothing can go wrong for him, everything changes. 

Surrounded by loss, darkness, and complete absence of luck, Arya desperately waits for hope. And it appears but from the unlikeliest of places. With the support of his wife April and younger brother Ilan, Arya takes upon him a task that is bigger and more important than all of them. This time, he is up against his greatest friend: Destiny.

My Take:

Arya Sen is a genius. He is a phenomenal kid, has a very supportive family and a beautiful and loving wife. He is a footballer and is a marvel at it. He is famous and every football club wants to play with him. And most importantly he is happy, basking in glory with his family alongside him.

And then destiny happens. For someone who hasn’t felt a single moment of grief, the sky comes down crumbling and all he is left with is a tragedy he doesn’t seem to find a way through.

This book is basically a biography or maybe, a beginner’s guide to Football. Well since football is not my forte, I will jabber about Arya Sen. Arya Sen (for me) is the kid who lives down the block. I assume our parents are friends. And they sit and talk for endless hours about how their kid wants to do something else but scoring high in academics is so much more important. The typical Bengali household, this book is a glimpse of my childhood.

“I know it’s hard; maybe even impossible as it seems now. But what I understand by watching you for years is that you are nothing like anyone else. You always push your limits. You always push through the wall till it breaks down. That’s the Arya I know.”

The writing style manages to capture all the tiny emotions the characters go through. The book can be extremely slow sometimes but the writing style makes the read worthwhile. Wit, humor, satire and grief, this book has it all. The plot is simple and in spite of my repeated trying, it (the plot) managed to surprise me. Every element is perfectly placed. The responsibilities and worries of a mother, the belief, and support of a father, the love of a brother and those dustu-misti (bittersweet) moments with your better half! The book totally supports the quirky side of the author. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, please click here. 😉

Football is a very important part of the plot and people who love football will definitely enjoy it way more than I did. But what clicked for me here is the Bengali household, a mediocre guy’s journey to stardom and a lesson to never forget that Destiny watches it all. The way all of it comes together is the essence of this book. It’s not just another story.

A book about aspirations, tragedies, and love, A Team of Extraordinary Bastards is the journey of a footballer who knows how to pull himself up after a bad bad fall!


Goodreads rating: 4.39/5.0

My Rating: 4.0/5.0


Buy the book here 🙂


I had a chance to ask a few questions to the author–Arka Datta. And the answers are pretty impressive. A few questions related to the book are mentioned below. You can find the full interview here 🙂 🙂

  • Has the plot been any way inspired by your life? Or maybe someone you know?

Some years ago, there was a news report published in a national paper about a team of young boys from Kolkata’s red-light district who were sent to Europe to participate in a competition. That report has inspired my plot.

  • The book talks of both Glory and Sufferings. Did you know the end when you started the book?

I did have an idea. The curve of the story, including the middle and the ending, was pre-decided. The story between them had developed during the process of writing the novel.

  • How long did you take to finish this novel?

I had taken me 368 days exactly. I remember because I was so sad that there were three extra days.

Until next time


** I recieved a copy of the book from the author. All opinions are my own**

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: A Team of Extraordinary Bastards by Arka Datta

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