Using a fairy-tale setting, The Story of a Goat shows agricultural India from the perspective of its most vulnerable inhabitant – an orphaned kid taken in by a couple of farmers. Through the eyes of Poonachi you get to know the harsh, brutal world, where there is no room for sentiment, and the line between life and death is very fine.
The book gives an insight into the everyday life of farming communities, showing a system that controls the poor and favours the rich. Poonachi, although loved by her guardians, inevitably becomes an object of exploitation, experiencing many forms of suffering. The anthropomorphic depiction of the characters, which is part of the fairy-tale convention, gives an insight into the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist – it makes it a difficult read for people sensitive to the suffering of animals.
The novel was translated into English from Tamil, and N. Kalyan Raman’s translation was on the long list of nominees for the National Book Award for Translated Literature.