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Book Review: Poonachi by Perumal Murugan

Poonachi Or The Story of a Black Goat is a novel that was originally written in Tamil in 2016 and translated into English in 2018. Poonachi, the black goat, is an odd goat. She is an unusual creature, possibly the runt of the litter and when she is a day old, she is gifted to an old farmer by a mysterious stranger. Despite her lack of nourishment, her small stature, being attacked by other animals and unaccepted by the farmer’s own goats, she is a survivor. The old woman bonds with the little goat and treats her differently to the others. She dotes on her like one would a child. Poonachi views the humans in the village with mixed emotions and observes the things they do from afar. She goes from being viewed as a runt to being revered by the people around after birthing seven kids despite her small stature.

But this is not just a fable about a goat. This is a scathing look at society through the eyes of a goat. It is a book about power and abuse, about corruption and subjugation, about hypocrisy and brainwashing, and yes, even a commentary about the treatment of women. While it may be hard to tame goats unlike sheep, is there a point where even the most independent of us can break?

This was an interesting and uncomfortable read in that it had so many truths in a subtle way. It reminded me of Animal Farm where you see society through the eyes of animals and in a strange way, it is even more horrifying. The notion of a regime that brainwashes its people is not uncommon in history and is still prevalent today. Murugan manages to show this both symbolically through the animals, conversations between the humans and their behaviours. The scenes he sets are rich in texture and you can feel yourself there in the village, among the animals, in the forest and when the land is dry. It is definitely a thought-provoking book.

My rating:

Where to buy the book:

Amazon | Book Depository

***Read and reviewed for Book Challenge by Erin 10.0 and the 2019 Write Tribe Reading Challenge***

Until next time,

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  • Shalzmojo
    12 January 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Now thats the first powerful review I have read of this book Sanch – seems you really got into this one. I have to pick it up now as I have been seeing so many blogger friends reading and recommending it!
    Shalzmojo recently posted…#Travel – A visit to the Dadar flower market in MumbaiMy Profile

  • Rashmi
    12 January 2019 at 7:18 pm

    That is a lovely review Sanch! I have read One Part Woman by the author and have been looking forward to reading more. This definitely looks worth a read!

  • Shilpa Gupte
    12 January 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Superb review, Sanch. And, this is, I think, the third or fourth review of the book that I read. So,now, I need to hunt this book down for myself soonest!
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…Coughs and cures.My Profile

  • Shalini R
    13 January 2019 at 4:50 am

    So glad to read your review, Sanch! Poonachi was one of my favorite reads of 2018. That puny little goat shook me to the core!
    Shalini R recently posted…I Serve as the Silent RankMy Profile

  • January 2019 Reflections - Sanch Writes
    2 February 2019 at 9:07 am

    […] made me cry ugly tears and will stay with me for a long, long time. Apart from these, I also read Poonachi, Nevermoor, One half from the east, Adulthood is a myth and Cloudwish {review of this to come […]

  • Balaka Basu
    4 February 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Poonachi is the first book that I read this year and looooved it. This book is not only a story about the goat but a commentary on our society. I loved the book cover to cover. Your review is amazing. If you wish you can also read my review. Thanks for sharing.