The Abyss – Jeyamohan
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Pothivelu Pandaram is known as a successful and God-fearing man about town – he has a loyal wife, three daughters and ample money to pay for their dowries. However, it is an open secret that his success is fuelled by a tawdry yet deeply profitable trade – for he owns a group of physically deformed beggars and places them outside various temples to make money for him. The beggars are mere ‘items’ to Pandaram, hardly human, to be bought and sold like cattle. But when the novel descends right into their world –the world of the ‘abyss’ – and places the reader in their midst, it takes on a marvellous, unexpected turn.
Bitter, black, raw and yet laced with humour and tenderness, The Abyss (Ezhaam Ulagam) is one of the most acclaimed works of the great Tamil writer Jeyamohan. It was adapted into an acclaimed film in 2009 called Naan Kadavul (I am God) which won a National Film Award for its director. Written with an unflinching eye and suffused with a deep existential longing, it is an extraordinary novel – in its terrain, its fundamental questions about humanity and its depiction of human suffering and liberation.
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