The Man Who Walked Backwards and Other Stories – S. Ramakrishnan


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The Man Who Walked Backwards and Other Stories is an anthology of eighteen short stories by S. Ramakrishnan, the popular and critically acclaimed master of modern Tamil writing.

The stories in this collection are a celebration of eccentricities: they feature characters who defy conventions, and who listen to their inner selves instead of conforming to familial and societal norms. There is the mother who swims endlessly to escape domesticity and abuse; an exceptional father and husband who leaves on a quest for selfhood; the thief who heals dogs and trees; the government clerk who goes around town counting pigeons; the man who walks only backwards; the estate-owner who builds a house with a hundred windows on a hilltop, but not for anyone to live in; the father and the son who measure rain; the forgotten poet who is despised by his own family; and many others whom the world does not understand.

In Ramakrishnan’s own words, ‘The people in my stories do not face big challenges, they do not seek big victories. They are the dice that Time plays with.’

In this lively English translation by Prabha Sridevan that highlights the evocative nature of Ramakrishnan’s writings, the stories remind us that in the midst of the real and the everyday, there is place for myth and magic as well. All readers will find this book an enriching experience.


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