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Poonachi

Or the Story of a Black Goat
Narrated by: Subhav Kher
Length: 4 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (55 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Through a seeming act of providence, an old couple receives a day-old female goat kid as a gift from the cosmos. Thus begins the story of Poonachi, the little orphan goat.  

As you follow her story from forest to habitation, independence to motherhood, you recognise in its significant moments the depth and magnitude of your own fears and longings, fuelled by the instinct for survival that animates all life. Masterly and nuanced, Perumal Murugan’s tale forces us reflect on our own responses to hierarchy and ownership, selflessness and appetite, love and desire, living and dying. 

Poonachi is the story of a goat who carries the burden of being different all her life, of a she-goat who survives against the odds. It is equally an expression of solidarity with the animal world and the female condition. The tale is also a commentary on our times, on the choices we make as a society and a nation, and the increasing vulnerability of individuals, particularly writers and artists, who resist when they are pressed to submit.

©2016 Original Copyright: Perumal Murugan 2016 Translation Copyright: N Kalyan Raman 2016 (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Poonachi

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Leaves you with tears and thoughts

The birth of an ordinary life never leaves a trace, does it? With that, Perumal Murgan sets the mood of the fable. A grim world lies ahead.⁣

Poonachi, an unusually tiny, black goat, journeys from infancy to motherhood. Her personal tragedies play out against the ordeals of famine, abject poverty and systematic corruption.⁣

We’re continuously reminded that Poonachi is an outcast. The tale, in fact, has strong parallels with Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. That too speaks about outcasts and transgressors—the ones who find happiness in the small things of life. Because the big things (or the big ones) are always in defiance of them. Poonachi, too, understands that early on in her life.⁣

In her case, the ‘big ones’ are her human-owners, a farmer and his (unnamed) wife who decide to bring her up. They’re in turn similarly domesticated by the government. Murgan makes a sharp commentary against the system. The goat owners are no less tethered down than the goats.⁣

Murgan touches upon variety of other themes like gender inequality, discrimination and herd mentality—all blended into a sour alchemy that leaves a lump in your throat.⁣

In the end, he reinforces George Orwell’s words from 1984—from the point of view of the low, historic changes only mean changes in the names of their masters.⁣

Poonachi is weak, sickly and prone to dangers. Yet, she survives every situation with zeal and luck. At one point, she looks at a herd of sheep and wonders why their heads are always down. “Unless we look up, how can we see the sky?” But destiny has other plans for her. As she comes to terms with her own fate, we see greed and desperation of hunger engulf the village, especially her owners.⁣

Did Poonachi choose any of this? Why do some suffer more than the others?⁣

Murgan lifts us to a vantage point so that we realise how little we can control. The book has made me even more conscious of my privilege. Aren’t we all oppressed and oppressor at the same time? Murgan leaves us with tears and too many thoughts.⁣

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Short and Sweet

if you liked George Orwell's Animal farm then you will definitely love this book , I think this genre is not very popular , and thus very few writers makes an effort in it . I liked how Murugan showed the feelings of human through poonachi .
hats off to Subhav kher , his narration was great , his goat voice was very funny though .

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Excellent is a small statement

Gods gift to human meets different transition of hardship and opportunities. Behaviour changes from to selfless to selfish and so on explained in a simple manner. Thanks Murugan Sir

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A story for the ages

Beautiful story, passed like a breeze, thanks also to the great narration. Strong characters, too, especially the old woman caretaker. Do give it a listen.

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perumal murugan was awesome

this is the first time I am reading a story by perumal murugan. suffice to stay I will be picking up many more books of his. narrator was awesome!

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Moved to tears!

A heart touching story. it's been a day since I finished listening to it, still Poonachi is in my head.

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We all have experienced poonachi once in our lives

this is such a simple story, but there are so many parallels to a human life. We are born and then society leads us to do certain things. there is joy and then sorrow. though it's a goat's story, you can't but help wonder what every life goes through on this earth. it's an enjoyable read, but will touch you deeply in the end. the writer has done a brilliant job of narrating the story, and along with it highlighting how family, government, climate and our greed impacts many living beings around us. there is more to a living life than the utility we associate with it. please be kind to animals and avoid inflicting pain whenever possible.

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Must read!

Perumal Murugan's master piece is worth every minute you engage with it. This one's a keeper.

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Kudos to the Author , Translator and the Narrator!

I never imagined I would discover a splendid Tamil author through audible. Looking forward to read his other novels ....In tamil though! A touching story and a great listening. And the Narrator was awesome!!

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Time Pass

Full of emotions, the end does not do justice to the story. kind of like the author didn't know how to complete the story arc. The author really know how to express emotions through words. Great writing. OK Story.