March 2020: Thirty-six-year-old Mallika Rao is largely insulated from the struggles of the millions fighting for their existence all over India. Instead, her Delhi flat and her husband threaten to imprison her as she searches for the confidence that has always eluded her. A rescue dog in her care provides more fulfilment than her husband, who is consumed by work and self-obsession, and she must also confront the universal challenges of having a woman's body.
Soft Animal unfolds in urgent present tense with illuminating flashbacks, whip-smart dialogue and conspiratorial footnotes. Bringing the deftness of deadpan humour and the precision of meticulous social observation to the self-delusions of India's privileged urban middle class, Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan's latest channels an uncomfortably-and sometimes heartbreakingly-intimate experience of millennial marriage that is seldom portrayed but all too real.
Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan
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24 April 2023
Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan has been a writer for as long as she can remember, but starting officially with her first book You Are Here, which was published in 2008 and commissioned on the basis of her popular blog, Compulsive Confessions. She has worked as a journalist and a freelance columnist, based mostly out of New Delhi. Soft Animal is her eighth book, written during the 2020 COVID lockdown in India. She currently lives and writes in Berlin. She can be reached via her newsletter The Internet Personified (mrm.substack.com).