Book Review – Goat Thief by Perumal Murugan

“Goat Thief” is a collection of short stories by the famous Tamil writer Perumal Murugan. It’s been a while that I read short stories and I am really glad that I picked up this English translation by N Kalyan Raman. I am not a huge fan of translated works, as I feel that the soul of the literary work is often lost in translation. However, this book was quite different. There are ten short stories in the book, depicting the interesting life of exceptional characters.

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In the preface, Perumal Murugan explains the logic he used to choose the 10 stories for this book. In his literary career, he has written over eighty short stories. However, every story in this book has a central character, whom Murugan calls an “exception.” Once I finished reading the book, I realized that the protagonist of every story is unique person, who doesn’t abide by the rules of the society and whose mind often borders on madness. These characters makes the stories intriguing and make the reader dwell on those extra-ordinary characters, even for a short while.

I am amazed by the story-telling prowess of Perumal Murugan. The way he depicts the everyday life with such a skill, that it turns magical. The stories are very easy to read and understand, but they have a philosophical side as well. The stories are disguised as plain, simple stories of rural life, however those who look closely, can find a myriad of themes depicted in these stories. If you are considering a new book to read, pick up Goat Thief. You wont be disappointed.

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