Poonachi by Perumal Murugan : Book Review

Title      : Poonachi or The Story of a Black Goat

Author : Perumal Murugan

Genre   : Indian Literature ; Cultural ; Fiction

Pages    : 179


Through a seeming act of providence, an old couple receives a day-old female goat kid as a gift from the cosmos. Thus begins the story of Poonachi, the little orphan goat.

As you follow her story from forest to habitation, independence to motherhood, you recognise in its significant moments the depth and magnitude of your own fears and longings, fuelled by the instinct for survival that animates all life. Masterly and nuanced, Perumal Murugan’s tale forces us reflect on our own responses to hierarchy and ownership, selflessness and appetite, love and desire, living and dying. Poonachi is the story of a goat who carries the burden of being different all her life, of a she-goat who survives against the odds. It is equally an expression of solidarity with the animal world and the female condition. The tale is also a commentary on our times, on the choices we make as a society and a nation, and the increasing vulnerability of individuals, particularly writers and artists, who resist when they are pressed to submit.


Poonachi or The story of a Black coat is an Indian Literature, originally written in Tamil by Mr.Perumal Murugan and later translated into English by N.Kalyan Raman. The author, Perumal Murugan is known for bringing the typical rural Indian touch in his works through his tremendous writing style. Most of his books are translated to English exclusively for his Non-Tamil readers. Poonachi is one of the highly rated books of it’s time and it was received extremely well by the readers as well as the critics. Poonachi was also shortlisted for JCB Prize for Literature, 2018.

As it says in the title, Poonachi is a story of a black goat who is orphaned right after her birth. She happens to fall under the care of an old poor couple. The story completely revolves around Poonachi and the hardship faced by her at every stage of her life.

The way in which the author has carried out the plot was very effective and deep. There are certain instances in which the readers will completely forget that Poonachi is a goat, because her feelings and emotions, her desires and sufferings are so real and so human-like. And the readers will have no difficulty in stepping into Poonachi’s shoes. The book also points out the greed and selfishness in human beings, the evils of the society and the socio-economic status of the people. And these aspects are shown through the eyes of the helpless Poonachi who is nothing but a silent spectator who has no power/control over her life or anything around her. This is how the author has conveyed the sufferings of the common man through Poonachi’s life.

The motherly affection which Poonachi gained from the old woman was beautifully written and the relationship between Poonachi and her counterpart Poovan was so pure, adorable and unique. And how Poonachi tries to fit into the herd of goats in the old couple’s house was so natural and real.

Since the plot is set in the Southern part of India, there was this Tamil flavor to the story throughout the book. For example, the way they live, the way they address each other, the environ of the village, the customs and culture they follow was written down crisply. And I guess only authors like Perumal Murugan can give us that essence of our villages explicitly.

My views

Before starting this book, I had my  set of reservations because I am in no way closely associated with animals. So I didn’t know whether I will be comfortable reading a book from an animal’s perspective or not. But still I picked it up for two good reasons. One, I had been receiving nothing but good reviews. Two, I instantly feel in love with the cover. Ya, I know, you cannot judge a book by it’s cover but it was so appealing with it’s black and red combination and I couldn’t resist it.

While starting the book I know it was going to be a sad read and I wasn’t in the mood for one. So what I did was I took it in a really very slow pace to detach myself from the sadness the books has to offer. I think it nearly took me two months to finish this book. It was pretty slow read and the book wasn’t even very big or something. But the point is, even after taking such a long time, the book had the power to keep me hinged to the plot with the intended emotional hold till the very end.

The book had some very subtle societal and political themes in the plot. Since I’m from Tamil background I didn’t have much problem in finding the hidden messages and it actually helped me see the inner picture more vividly. If you don’t find them, then that’s completely alright, they were just some trivial details and I’m sure you will still love it.

 My rating for this book would be 4 out of 5 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Apart from young readers, I would recommend this book to everyone. This is that one book which everyone should read in their lifetime at least once.

Click here to get hold of this amazing book

I hope you will love this book as much as I did!

Happy Reading Folks!!!!

~ Meenu

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See the world as it is through the eyes of a beautiful little Black Goat, Poonachi! Read the review to know more about the book!!!!!


  • Meenu Annadurai

    Meenu Annadurai is the founder & editor of The Nerdy Bookarazzi. Meenu is a Customer Specialist by day and a writer by night. She published her debut novel 'A Place called Home' with Half-Baked Beans which is now available on Amazon. She is insanely addicted to her bookshelf and super possessive about them. She is in a serious relationship with her current Book Boyfriend.

    https://www.instagram.com/meenu_annadurai/?hl=en [email protected] Annadurai Meenu

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