In a village that has seen little rain for years, an old farming couple are given a black goat kid by a mysterious stranger, a giant figure who seems to have at least one foot in the world of myth. They name the kid Poonachi and raise her to adulthood. Poonachi doesn’t quite fit in, which leads to some difficulties – for example, she’s a different colour from the couple’s nanny goat, so it takes some ingenuity to get her registered with the authorities.

Poonachi’s life is eventful, has its ups and downs analogous to a human’s, and she springs to life as a character in her own right. The Story of a Goat becomes a fable of society, difference and acceptance. The measured tone of Murugal’s prose (in N. Kalyan Raman’s translation from Tamil) draws you in, and the end result is an affecting tale. 

Published by Pushkin Press.