An empathetic fable about a goat who lives a life tethered to the rope
A stranger leaves his baby goat in the possession of an old man living in the drought-stricken Odakkan Hill. The old man, a poor lower-caste farmer and goatherd, and his generous wife immediately welcome the tiny goat, whom they name Poonachi, into their homes and she becomes the centre of their lives. As Poonachi's childhood years pass by, however, parental love slowly melts away and an imbalanced relationship takes hold. Poonachi realises she has to live up to being a domesticated animal where birthing litters and providing milk are relentless expectations. As the drought continues to intensify and the old man and woman deal with further penury, their relationships with their animal companions, including Poonachi, slowly rupture.
Poonachi is Perumal Murugan's first novel after the protests against Madhurobagan (One Part Woman) launched him into mainstream recognition. Deeply poignant, it is that rare beast, a book about animals that tackles existence under bondage with aplomb.