I feel this book is like the indigenous art piece which you won’t find in a mall showcase, the book is packed with raw emotions but are showcased in form of animals rather than humans, also none of the humans have name but all animals have.
This storymade me happy and sad at the same time. Being an animal lover, loved the relation which the old lady and poonachi shares and how the presence of a babypet changes the relation between the old woman and her husband.
The story gives a strong background of when in 2016 Tamil Nadu recorded its lowest annual rainfall in 140 years and how it affected the day today life of already struggling farmers.
Along with that the book touches on many topics, also I loved the fact that none of the characters are all black and white and boring, the characters show a spectrum of emotions & raw emotions (both humans and animal) in their true nature and how easily the emotions changes, the power of motherhoodand true love & lust.
Poonachi, a black (doe) goat who comes as a fragile baby into the lives of an elderly human couple like a ‘tale’ when one day a stranger ‘Bakasura’ gives poonachi to the old man and the story follows the course of poonachi’s life. The unnamed old couple look after the motherless doe like their own progeny, and form a deep bond with her.
The storyline follows Poonachi’s growth into maturity, affectionately dwelling on her small helplessness and later unabashedly depicting her sexual awakening.
Being a doe she remained safe from cruel fate of neutering/ slaughtering/ sacrificing that is the lot of the bucks, but makes her vulnerable to the attendant tribulations of pregnancy and motherhood, and milk production.
It is the exhausting to see her nurturing her numerous protege only to be later painful separated from them.
Her status as a miraculously fertile, high milk-yielding, seven-kid birthing mother further victimises her.
But in the midst of all he misery she finds her short-lived joy in Poovan, the gentle and loving buck she encounters twice briefly on ‘pilgrimages’ to the old couple’s daughter’s home. Who is later sacrificed at the temple.
This novel is definitely a slim but heavy on heart kind of book, the author has explained why he chose a goat as his protagonist in his preface to this book. He says he is fearful of writing about humans and gods, therefore he has chosen to write about animals instead.
He proceeds to explain, “There are only five species of animals with which I am deeply familiar. Of them, dogs and cats are meant for poetry. It is forbidden to write about cows or pigs. That leaves only goats and sheep. Goats are problem-free, harmless, and, above all, energetic. A story needs narrative pace. Therefore, I’ve chosen to write about goats.”
To wind it up I would say our heroine may be a goat but she is a heroine.