by Chandra Sundeep
Book Cover Amma by Perumal Murugan

Amma by Perumal Murugan is much more than a collection of essays. It is a dedication. It is a heartfelt tribute by a son to his mother. These 22 essays are a recollection of the author’s memories of the time spent with his mother. He shares his memories in such a heartwarming manner it touches a chord with the reader. 

Amma is a woman whose world revolves around her family.

Amma is a woman who despite being uneducated was free from superstitious beliefs.

Amma is a woman who did not believe in customs and deities, was open-minded, and yet was affected by casteism. 

Amma is not just about the dilemmas a woman faces in her everyday life, but about her inner strength and power to carry on despite all adversities. 

The foreword by the author’s wife Ezhilarasi is beautifully penned, as she shares with the world the relationship she shared with her mother-in-law. 

Amma, the central character among whom these essays revolve, is undoubtedly a proud mother, an efficient daughter-in-law, a loving grandmother taking pride in spoiling her grandchildren; burdened by an alcoholic husband; a woman under constant pressure to work and excel in her performance, be it at the field, or managing the cattle or taking responsibility of running the household. The one thing she doesn’t know is to quit.

The essays are deeply touching and in a simple language not only convey the hardships faced by village women, they also shed light on agricultural practices, family life, casteism and poverty in rural Tamil Nadu but also reflect upon practices like moyi. The essays made me laugh and cry. Written honestly, one can’t help but ponder on the simplicity and beauty of one’s childhood days and time spent with parents. The one common theme in all the essays is Perumal Murugan’s love for his mother. 

This line sums up the book for me  – So if not my chest, where else was she laid to rest? Perhaps, I could point to space.

(Translated from Tamil by Nandini Murali and Kavitha Muralidharan)

Wordsopedia rating 4.8/5

Title: Amma Author: Perumal Murugan
Publisher: Eka Westland Publications  Publication date: February 16, 2019
Genre: Non – Fiction (Memoir) Format: Paperback, Ebook
ISBN: 9789388754873 No. of Pages: 216

Buy your copy here at Amazon 

About the Author

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.

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