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3.5 

Pyre

By Perumal Murugan
Pyre by Perumal Murugan digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

By the author of One Part Woman: “A haunting story of forbidden love set in Southern India that illustrates the cruel consequences of societal intolerance.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Saroja and Kumaresan are young and in love. After meeting in a small southern Indian town where Kumaresan works at a soda bottling shop, they quickly marry before returning to Kumaresan’s family village, where they hope to build a happy life together. But they are harboring a terrible secret: Saroja is from a different caste than Kumaresan, and if the villagers find out, they will both be in grave danger.

Faced with venom from her mother-in-law and questions from her new neighbors, Saroja tries to adjust to a new lonely and uncomfortable life, while Kumaresan struggles to scrape together enough money for them to start over somewhere new. But in a world filled with thorns, their love may not be enough to keep them safe.

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30 Reviews

3.5
“Another from the 2023 International Booker long list. Another shorter read. This one has a clear and standard narrative. While I enjoyed reading it, and finished it in only 3 sittings, it seemed pretty surface level (though my heart did break for them). Still planning to check out this authors other books. Can’t decide if the ending was ambiguous or not.”
“A short, tragic read on an intercaste love marriage in rural South India. In this book, the author does a great job of capturing village life, familial bonds, and the innocence of a couple who believes that their bond will triumph over societal customs. The narrative flips between the present-day lives of Kumerasan and Saroja with flashes of the past, giving us a glimpse of their love story. Throughout the book, the author highlights the casteism that exists in India and how staunchly they are adhered to in Indian villages. This book is translated from Tamil. Being a translated work, it did not feel like it. The writing is simple and has good pacing. A sense of foreboding exists throughout the book beginning with the title and the cliffhanger at the end. As a reader, I felt hopeful and unhopeful at the same time - hoping the couple has a happy ending while deep inside knowing that they might not. I recommend this read to anyone looking to read a book set in southern India and a well-translated one.”

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