Posted in Books

Book Review: The Tusk That Did the Damage, by Tania James

To take a sensitive issue and write a wonderful story on it is not easy. Tania James has taken the illegal ivory trade as the issue and produced this story, The Tusk That Did the Damage. The novel, unique in its subject, is also unique in that it tells the story from three different viewpoints, and leaving the reader (me) thinking that all three make sense.

The Gravedigger’s (elephant’s) point of view is best for it gives voice to the animal. We don’t think of that. From the moment that Gravedigger witnesses the poaching of his tribe, not just for the tusks but the tail too, the sections from this point of view are done well. The poacher and his family, that point of view comes next best. The emotions and the background story of the poacher are vivid, and interesting. And in these two sections, the story moves quickly, and strongly. I could see the story headed somewhere. Unfortunately, the filmmaker’s part doesn’t have as strong an appeal as the other two. Right from the first chapter that talks of the path through the ghats, it didn’t hold my interest as easily. It made me wonder if the author could have left it out, and alternated between poacher and the poached.

The novel is one that I’ll re-read again at leisure, for it is one of a kind and carrying with it, a lesson.

The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
Book Details
Title: The Tusk That Did the Damage
Author(s): Tania James Genre: Fiction
Vintage Books / Random House India
No. of Pages: 240 Price: INR. 499

Reviewed for Random House India in exchange for a copy of the book. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 23rd April 2015)



Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.