Perumal Murugan is the star of contemporary Tamil literature. An award-winning writer, poet and scholar, he has garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success for his vast array of work. His novels have been translated into English to immense acclaim, including Current Show, Pyre, Seasons of the Palm, which was shortlisted for the Kiriyama Prize in 2005, and One Part Woman, his best-known work, which was shortlisted for the Crossword Award, longlisted for the inaugural National Book Award for Translation and won the prestigious ILF Samanvay Bhasha Samman. A Lonely Harvest and Trial by Silence-his two ingenious parallel sequels to One Part Woman-were shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Fiction 2019. A Lonely Harvest was also longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019. Songs of a Coward is a collection of his poetry written in exile. His debut novel was published in English as Rising Heat in 2020, nearly three decades after it was first published in Tamil.
Aniruddhan Vasudevan writes and translates between Tamil and English. He is currently a Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow (2020-2023) at the Princeton Society of Fellows and a lecturer in the Humanities Council and Anthropology at Princeton University.
The vision he saw in his dream, a world in ruins and bereft of women-was that going to come true soon? If he could get married, he would live the way people lived in the old days. He wanted to have at least ten children, and he wanted them all to be girls. The world should never again witness the sorrow of a man like him.
It might be a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, or at least a piece of land, must be in want of a wife, but Marimuthu's path to marriage is strewn with obstacles big and small. Inward-looking, painfully awkward, desperately lonely and deeply earnest, Marimuthu is fuelled by constant rejection into an unforgettable and transformative matrimonial quest. Enter a series of marriage brokers, horoscopes, infatuations, refusals and 'bride-seeing' expeditions gone awry, which lead Marimuthu to a constant re-evaluation of his marital prospects.
But this is no comedy of manners, and before long we find ourselves reckoning with questions of agricultural change, hierarchies of caste, the values of older generations and the grim antecedents of Marimuthu's poor prospects, as decades of sex-selective abortion have destroyed the fabric of his community and its demographics.
Perumal Murugan's Resolve is both a cultural critique and a personal journey: in his hands, the question of marriage turns into a social contract, deeply impacted by the ripple effects of patriarchy, inequality and changing relationships to land and community. In this deceptively comic tale that savagely pierces the very heart of the matter, translated with deft moments of lightness and pathos by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, Perumal Murugan has given us a novel for the ages.
Murugan works his themes with a light hand; they always emanate from his characters, who are endowed with enough contradiction and mystery to keep from devolving into mouthpieces.
Murugan's unsurpassed ability to capture Tamil speech lays bare the complex organism of the society he adeptly portrays.
Versatile, sensitive to history and conscious of his responsibilities as a writer, Murugan is [...] the most accomplished of his generation of Tamil writers.
[Murugan's] fiction scrupulously documents South India's trees, its seasons, the behavior not only of people but even of animals.Translated with an elegance that reflects Murugan's deep understanding of the unbreakable links between farmers and their land, Resolve is a searing indictment of the skewed gender equations in India
Perumal Murugan's 'Resolve' is an extended meditation on the politics of marriage in India. The dynamics are captured in a cast of compelling characters.
...Murugan doesn't hold back in his depictions of their (characters) thoughts, or beliefs, or actions, or desires, no matter how harrowing or taboo or morally dubious it might be. He is, of course, hardly known as a shy or demure writer, and it's a strength that makes Resolve.