“Fantastical . . . Through the thoughts of a rare black goat and the couple who adopt it, readers witness famines, death, and moments of beauty.” —National Geographic
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Translated Literature
As he did in the award-winning One Part Woman, Perumal Murugan explores a side of India that is rarely considered in the West: the rural lives of the country’s farming community. He paints a bucolic yet sometimes menacing portrait, showing movingly how danger and deception can threaten the lives of the weakest through the story of a helpless young animal lost in a world it naively misunderstands.
As the novel opens, a mysterious stranger offers a farmer in Tamil Nadu a black goat kid who is the runt of the litter, surely too frail to survive. The farmer and his wife take care of the young she-goat, whom they name Poonachi, and soon the little goat is bounding with joy and growing at a rate they think miraculous for such a small animal. Intoxicating passages from the goat’s perspective offer a bawdy and earthy view of what it means to be an animal and a refreshing portrayal of the natural world. But Poonachi’s life is not destined to be a rural idyll—dangers can lurk around every corner, and may sometimes come from surprising places, including a government that is supposed to protect the weak and needy. Is this little goat too humble a creature to survive such a hostile world?
“The title character of Murugan’s elegant new novel is indeed a joy . . . through Poonachi’s tale we are reminded how much bonds us with the animal world.” —USA Today