Posted in Books

Book Review: One Part Woman, by Perumal Murugan

Society has its own ideas of what each person’s life should be like. If the life doesn’t conform to those notions, then it makes that life seem more difficult than it may be. This was perhaps more true a few decades ago, but I don’t think it has become irrelevant yet even in the current day.

One Part Woman tells the tale of a couple Kali and Ponna. They have been married for twelve years, and they love each other a lot. Their only complaint… God hasn’t blessed them with a child yet. The two of them know it might happen any time, and don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to prayers or offerings to God, asking Him to bless them with a child. But the talk of those around them, family and friends alike, begin to bite into them. The taunts and insinuations begin to show its mark on them, and the paths seem to lead to the chariot festival at the temple of Ardhanareeshwara, the half-male half-female god. Can one night end the sorrows of the couple? Or will that night end up being their ultimate test?

I don’t know how the novel goes in Tamil, but this translation definitely leaves a mark on the reader. It is moving, and the emotions of the couple in particular are palpable. Their hopes and dreams are clear, and it’s poignantly endearing to see their efforts to appease God to grant them their dearest desire. It’s equally sad to see how the people around them give up hope on them having a child, and even bring up the possibility of a second marriage for Kali, or the suggestion of the chariot festival night. The character sketches are vivid, and the author breathes life into them, be it the good or the bad or the extreme. Innocence or anger, loyalty or misunderstanding, each color is visible. The book isn’t fast paced, but it is still flowing, and mostly engaging. I loved the cover art, which is the first thing a reader would notice of course.

One of the best translations I’ve read so far. It definitely warrants a second read, but not one in the near future perhaps.

A Score Of 9 Out Of 10
Book Details
Title: One Part Woman
Author(s): Perumal Murugan Genre: Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9780143423546 Publisher: Penguin Books

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.

(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
22nd January 2018)



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.

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