Estuary by Perumal Murugan a book review

Revisiting books of my favorite Indian Author


To begin with, as much as fictional it is equally an example of one of the million middle-class households, who are stretching their limited resources and abilities to the maximum to give their child a secure and better future. The playfulness and witty writing nature is entertaining yet hits home straight away. A man working in a not-so-important position in a not-so-important department, a government which is eaten away by corruption just like how termites eat wood from inside, a tyrant king who is more into show-offs and photo ops rather than doing the real work, education system, and its toxic coaching cultures which focus more on rat race at the cost of young mind's mental and physical health. It's a comprehensive tale of all the parents who struggle to maintain the balance of fulfilling their aspirations through children and fulfilling the wishes of their kids. they want both of the worlds yet always left with wishes not being fully granted. It may be set up in a fictional land of Asurapura with all of its characters and surrounding mundaneness, there's always an underlying narrative of the exact society we live in.

To conclude with if we thought Perumal Murugan is for his stories of idyllic village lives this book made me reconsider it all over again.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Late at night, Kumarasurar’s phone rings shrilly. His teenage son is calling. What could he want?


A seemingly simple demand torments Kumarasurar, who fears it might put his finances—and perhaps his son’s life—in jeopardy. As a father’s anxieties unravel, his memories undermine his self-worth and imaginary scenes of damnation taunt him.


Estuary brings alive the different ways—absurd and endearing by turns—in which a man and his young son navigate the contemporary world. In the process, it peels back the layers of Kumarasurar’s loneliness: the hurt of a married man whose wife cares only for the happiness of their child, the endless monotony of an office job, and the struggle of the salaried middle-class to give their children the best chance of success.


Perumal Murugan’s latest novel, his first in an urban setting, is also a razor-sharp parody of everything from e-commerce to the fitness industry, art appreciation to political manipulation, cram schools to social networks. Through a meditative exploration of a father’s emotional landscape, Murugan tells of a world wrecked by unchecked consumerism and an obsession with growth, where technology overrides common sense and degrees don’t guarantee education. And, with characteristic tenderness, he also weaves in a way to redemption.


Estuary is published by Eka, an imprint of Westland publishers and to order your copy buy here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PERUMAL MURUGAN is the author of eleven novels, five collections of short stories, and five anthologies of poetry in Tamil. Three of his novels translated into English—Poonachi: Or the Story of a Black Goat, Trial by Silence, and A Lonely Harvest—was shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature in 2018 and 2019. His other novels translated into English include Seasons of the Palm, shortlisted for the Kiriyama Prize in 2005, Pyre, Current Show, and One Part Woman. Murugan is now the principal at the Government Arts College in Namakkal.


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