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Book Review: Poonachi by Perumal Murugan.
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Perumal Murugan announced his death as a writer in 2015 and withdrew all his books after he was threatened by right wing Hindu outfits for his book, One Part Woman. It was only after the Madras High Court stood with him that he came out of his exile, Poonachi is his first book after that dark period.
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Poonachi is a multi-layered story. For the uninitiated to the politics and customs of the region, it would be only a story of a goat, enriched with emotions as it is. But for the more aware readers, it is a subtle mockery of a "regime" that is obsessed with every information of the citizens and their animals. .
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Well, Poonachi is a miraculous, miniscule goat kid that an old couple get to own in mysterious circumstances. Soon the life of the old couple start to revolve around Poonachi. Poonachi lives through various difficulties and threats, falls in love, fails in love. From being loved to be treated like a god's curse, she lives through it all. .
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All through the reading I felt like the author is shaking me by the shoulders, trying to wake me from a slumber, urging me to read carefully and pick the clues hidden between the lines, behind the words, that he desperately wants to be picked for he says in the preface, "I am fearful of writing about humans; even more fearful of writing about gods. How long can an untold story rest in deep slumber within the dormant seed? Yes, let me write about animals."
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Ratings: 9/10
Verdict: Must read.
Shortlisted for @thejcbprize for literature.
Published by @westland_books
Translated by N. Kalyan Raman
Pages: 170
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P.S. The goat kid in the picture is real and so full of energy that this proved to be the most difficult photo to click.
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