Resolve – Perumal Murugan
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The vision he saw in his dream, a world in ruins and bereft of women—was that going to come true soon? If he could get married, he would live the way people lived in the old days. He wanted to have at least ten children, and he wanted them all to be girls. The world should never again witness the sorrow of a man like him.
It might be a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, or at least a piece of land, must be in want of a wife, but Marimuthu’s path to marriage is strewn with obstacles big and small. Inward-looking, painfully awkward, desperately lonely and deeply earnest, Marimuthu is fuelled by constant rejection into an unforgettable and transformative matrimonial quest. Enter a series of marriage brokers, horoscopes, infatuations, refusals and ‘bride-seeing’ expeditions gone awry, which lead Marimuthu to a constant re-evaluation of his marital prospects.
But this is no comedy of manners, and before long we find ourselves reckoning with questions of agricultural change, hierarchies of caste, the values of older generations and the grim antecedents of Marimuthu’s poor prospects, as decades of sex-selective abortion have destroyed the fabric of his community and its demographics.
Perumal Murugan’s Resolve is both a cultural critique and a personal journey: in his hands, the question of marriage turns into a social contract, deeply impacted by the ripple effects of patriarchy, inequality and changing relationships to land and community. In this deceptively comic tale that savagely pierces the very heart of the matter, translated with deft moments of lightness and pathos by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, Perumal Murugan has given us a novel for the ages.
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