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Perumal Murugan’s tender yet truthful essays capture the life of a strong, independent and extraordinary woman: his mother. She raised her children with the income from just a few acres of land that she managed on her own, tending to the cattle and crops with maternal concern, all the while minding her unruly husband. Every obligation met, all accounts squared up, each meal cooked to satiate the tongue and heart—Amma never rested, not even when bedridden with Parkinson’s. She lived a farmer’s life and died a farmer’s death.
Amma is a homage to a way of life and values—simplicity, honesty and hard work—lost to us today. Peppered with unsentimental nostalgia and delightful humour, and vividly documenting village and farming life in the Kongu region, Amma tugs at generational memory. Murugan’s non-fiction writing, his first to appear in English, is as deeply affecting as his fiction.
Perumal Murugan is the author of eleven novels, four collections of short stories and five anthologies of poetry in Tamil. Three of his novels translated into English— Poonachi: Or the Story of a Black Goat, Trial by Silence and A Lonely Harvest —were shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature in 2018 and 2019. The other six novels translated into English include Seasons of the Palm, shortlisted for the Kiriyama Prize in 2005, Pyre, Current Show and One Part Woman. He is a professor of Tamil at the Government Arts College in Attur, Salem.