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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  254 ratings  ·  20 reviews
'Coolie' portrays the adventures of Munoo, a young boy forced to leave his hill village to fend for himself and discover the world.
Paperback, 282 pages
Published April 5th 1994 by Penguin Classics (first published 1936)
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Shabbeer Hassan
Munnoo, the memorable character of Coolie remains even if you have finished the book..A book which shows the face of the "OTHER" India during the pre-partition period.... Also, it correctly shows the actual caste system of India, not the Rajputs, Vaishyas, Shudras, Brahmans But RICH & POOR....

With enough money one can make even the most hard nosed orthodox people their friends....The book also shows the Britishers during the tumultuous time of pre-partition...How communism & trade unioni...more
For book lovers from India, there are some few writers who are must read for them considering the kind of role the writers have played in Indian writing over the decades and also considering the quality of their writings. Rabindranath Tagore, R.K. Narayan, Kamala Markandeya are a few of the names that comes to my mind. Add to that the name of Mulk Raj Anand, one of the finest writers of India. His book "Coolie" is a seminal book in Indian literature. Coolie depicts the life of an young boy who d...more
Vishwanath Praveen
‘Coolie’ would be an obvious choice for readers who wish to understand how life in pre-independent India was for people who occupied the bottom most rung of the society.
This is the second Mulk Raj Anand novel I read, the first being Untouchable.
It tells the story of a 14year old village boy Munoo and the plight he suffers at the hands of the ‘dignified’ members of the society who make up the upper crust.
Munoo is orphaned after the death of his mother and is brought up by his uncle. No sooner t...more
An educational and interesting look into colonial India of the 1930s. Fascinating to see what has changed in today's India, and most importantly what has not. Recommended.
Nikhil Silveira
lover of your sister - translitterations galore - could be forgiven considering Mr Anand lived in an era where English was still considered a province of the WASP Anglo-Saxon and the vernacular pride hadn't evolved beyond the general pride resulting from the freedom struggle.

In today's environs much of the nativity would have found it's way into the text directly, instead of the seemingly apologetic trans-litteration that litters this book. Detracts to an extent from the prose.

Nor is the makeup...more
To a reader who, as a member of the South Asian diaspora, has never had more than an amorphous grasp of the region's history, Mulk Raj Anand vividly animates the world that existed therein during the twilight of the British Raj. "Coolie", an extraordinary tale of a common village orphan, illuminates with touching clarity the state of affairs in pre-partition India that is all too often fogged over with romanticist nostalgia.
The reader sees this world through the simple eyes of Munoo, the tragic...more
Shinuna Said
This novel effectively depicts the sufferings of labourers through the story of Munoo, the protagonist. Munoo, an orphan brought up by his uncle begins the journey of his life from his village and going through many places say various stages of miseries, dies of consumption in the end. The portrayal is so realistic that it gives one a true picture of the conditions the workers live in - the depiction of nauseating surroundings, dirty lanes, labourers relieving in the open fields etc. The story o...more
Coolie portrays the adventures of a young sixteen year old boy Munoo. Munoo, at best, is like a universal figure who represents a passion not only for India but also the human race. The story of Coolie is a fight for basic survival that shines through with a raw sense of urgency while also highlighting the grim fate of the masses in a pre-partition India. Mulk Raj Anand's picture of Munoo is real, comprehensive and subtle.
As you probably know, Anand was an Indian who lived for roughly the entire 20th century and gained an international reputation for his bleakly realist social commentary novels written in English. This is his second of five novels.
Although his usual biography states that he was moved to write by the inequities of the Indian caste system (his first novel was called Untouchable), it strikes me that his communist engagement in the 30s and 40s causes him at times to more broadly characterize the pro...more
tragic but lovely. highly recommended for any interested in Indonesia or colonial era literature. a very nice translation too, reads like original language.
This is not a 'feel-good' read, but it is fascinating and well-written.

It is a heart-rending description of a young boy's suffering as he moves from one place to another in India in search of work and shelter.

It may be an unfair criticism but when I read this book as well as Untouchable, I felt that the Indian author, who had received his university education in England, was writing for an English audience rather than for Indians. There is, of course, nothing wrong with this, but I felt that I w...more
of all Indian authors, i love Mulk Raj Anand the best. it shows the pre-independence India from an Indian perspective. most british authors revile or pity at being Indian. but Mulk does it the other way around. he sees the Indian way of life and its hardships and its boundaries. a sad ending to this book. a story of the still continuing saga of child labor, exploitation and abuse in India and its lack of security for the poor.
There's not much here that we don't already know, and one does feel every now and then that the author manipulates the characters/plot to elicit more sympathy from the reader. Some of the characters seemed almost Bollywood-ish (Ratan, for instance). One can see that Anand was moved by the poverty he saw around him, which is why he wrote this book. All in all, a good read, but nothing exceptional.
vivid and touching
Anand hung out with the cool kids of Bloomsbury for some years before snubbing that scene. Interestingly, he consciously imitated Joyce's Portrait and envisioned himself as a Stephen/Joyce figure forging the consciousness of India in the smithy of his soul. Untouchable and Coolie are terrific reads and offer very interesting commentary on Indian gender/caste constructions.
Ankush Agrawal
An interesting read. Initially started to read for the college assignment purpose, but then was intrigued by the young character's trials and harships and his hard life. What a vivid picture potrayed by the author. Didnt know India did have such gems of a writer...
Couldn't finish reading this book.
After Mulk Raj Anand's 'Untouchable', I had very high expectations set with this one. Read half way through but couldn't push my self further.
The book isn't unworthy but keeps a pace too slow to have me reading.
Dibya Pal
Probably the first Indian author to write about the dark spots of the Indian society during the pre-independence staqge in such a elaborate and fancied manner.
Tushar Sappal
An educational and interesting look into colonial India of the 1930s
Chirantan Goswami
Exceptionally well written and told by mulk raj anand. Great to read.
Mansi Saini
real picture of post colonial india..................
Sep 08, 2009 nikita added it
half read....its moving
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An Indian writer in English known for his depiction of the lives of the poorer castes in Indian society.
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