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The Goat Thief by Perumal Murugan, translated by N Kalyan Raman, Juggernaut Books

Perumal Murugan is one of the best Indian writers today. He trains his unsentimental eye on men and women who live in the margins of our society. He tells their stories with deep sympathy and calm clarity. A lonely night watchman falls in love with the ghost of a rape victim. A terrified young goat thief finds himself surrounded by a mob baying for his blood. An old peasant exhausted by a lifetime of labour is consumed by jealousy and driven to an act of total destruction. Set in the arid Kongu landscape of rural Tamil Nadu, these tales illuminate the extraordinary acts that make up everyday lives.

‘N Kalyan Raman, who has masterfully translated Murugan’s Tamil prose for The Goat Thief, says that by virtue of their exceptional nature, living on the margins and consequently their aloneness, the characters in these stories are almost set up to “go down fighting”. But it is the nature of this fight that takes on intriguing forms.’ Harsimran Gill, in

‘The stories have a folktale feel to them- I can imagine them being narrated in the village square in front of a banyan tree. The translator has done an excellent job retaining the flavour of the original idiomatic expressions.’ Jayshree in Literary Gitane

Perumal Murugan was born in 1966 in Tiruchengode, Tamil Nadu. He is the author of eight novels, four collections of short stories and four anthologies of poetry in Tamil. He began writing at a very young age and wrote a diary, narratives and poetry. Marxist education and reading Periyar were some of the influences that shaped him and his work. They introduced him to issues such as politics, gender discrimination, caste discrimination, and offered a deep understanding of Tamil Nadu. Murugan retired recently as head of the department of Tamil literature in a government college in Attur. He lives and works in Namakkal.

Shortlisted for:

Vodafone Crossword Prize (Translations) – 2018

Atta-Galatta Bangalore Literature Festival Prize 2018



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