Pyre- translated from Perumal Murugan’s original Tamil novel Pookkuzhi is a heart wrenching love story of Kumaresan and Saroja in a remote village called Kattuppatti. After a hasty wedding, Saroja and Kumaresan who belong to different castes, decide to head home, hoping to live a marital life of bliss. Kumaresan, though, is careful not to mention his newly wed wife’s caste to his people.
However, the people of Kattuppatti aren’t convinced with his story. Soon the two are caught in a tangle of caste and creed. Having irked the villagers for marrying outside the village, Kumaresan and Saroja become victims of their wrath that leads to the entire village taking it upon their hands to punish the two. Amidst caste hierarchy, social belief, hatred and cruelty, Perumal Murugan etches a plot that will hit you hard and leave you numb.
He paints a vision of intolerance in the readers mind and when Kumaresan asks his mother, “Is it a crime to marry the girl I love?”; the words pierce you hard within. The scorching sun on the fields, the arid farming land, the tongues that wag and torment, the hatred of Marayi- Kumaresan’s mother- Perumal Murugan’s narrative evokes every sensation to draw you into the book.
The borders of caste are creed is strictly defined in a country such as India and crossing across is a forbidden act, costing one their life. It is this ugly side of society that is brilliantly depicted in the book. It may seem limited in its use of words, yet the book can hit you hard.
Pyre is a haunting tale of love and societal prejudice.
The book is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format.
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