Acclaimed writer Perumal Murugan returns to his old themes -caste and the world of rural and semi-rural Tamil Nadu - in his new collection of short stories, mingling absurdity and pathos like no one else.
The titular story is about a young boy whose job is to police the toilets in a mofussil bus stand and urge users to emerge sooner. 'It is as if shit is stuck on my body', he tells the story's narrator, pleading to be taken away.
In 'The Last Cloth' , a man who returns to his village after a city education is revolted seeing his mother walk about bare breasted. She however has never worn a blouse, not even in her prime, and is terrified at being asked to in her old age.
While 'Neelaakka' tells the story of a woman who is mocked for stains on her teeth.
These stories and many more are part of this unsettling, moving and grippingly told collection. Sandalwood Soap and Other Stories is another extraordinary book from one of our great writers working at the height of his powers.
Sandalwood Soap And Other Stories
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28 September 2023
Perumal Murugan is one oflndia's most well-known literary writers. He has written twelve novels, six short story collections and five works of poetry in Tamil, many of which have been translated into English. His books have won and been nominated for numerous prizes.
Kavitha Muralidharan is an independent bilingual journalist from Tamil Nadu with over twenty-five years of experience and a translator.