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Seasons of the Palm

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Translated from the Tamil, Seasons of the Palm tells the story of an "untouchable" lad in bondage to a paternal yet powerful landlord. He struggles to keep a fragile happiness, but endless work and a stubborn hunger are never too far away. Relentless in its portrayal of the everyday humiliations of untouchablility, the novel is yet lyrical in its evocation of the grace wit ...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Tara Books
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A poignant story about untouchable shepherd children working as bonded labourers to landed gentry and farmers. Ser in Tamil Nadu, the book captures the rituals and customs of (?) pre independent rural India. .
I will forever remember Shorty, Belly, Tallfellow, Stonedeaf, their masters and mistress.. and Selvan, Shoety's master's son.
Veeran, the goat and Poochi, the mongrel are the other evergreen characters.

Highly recommended to all those who want to taste the regional flavours of India.
Gorab Jain
Bonded child labour categorised as 'Untouchables' by their masters. Bearing names because of their physical attributes - Shorty, Belly, TallFellow, StumpLeg, StoneDeaf, Matchstick....
Narrated in third person where they graze cattle and perform various duties, this is the story of their joys and sorrows, cheerful companionship to nasty sufferings, gratefulness to hatefulness.
Captured in a good prose (translation was also good retaining some Tamil words), this was a heart wrenching read which I
Anand Prakash
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Godan of South India
Seasons of the Palm by Perumal Murugan
I picked up this book, which was shortlisted for Kiriyama Prize. This book is almost plot-less. It is about the journey of Shorty and his group of untouchable kids who worked as household help to different high caste landlords in Tamilnadu. Reading this book is like looking at a imagery the author had created and submerging in the feeling his words evoked. So, unique is the imagery, narrative, and the thought of the characters that you f
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Idyllic, and menacing. One moment you're enjoying nature in all its glories, the next the idyll turns into menace as the reality of Shorty's life, his caste hits him, each time with increasing violence. A powerful read. ...more
Siddarth Gore
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
We glorify the grand and the majestic yet it is the everyday lives that are the most interesting. It is astonishing that the accident of birth leads to such different lives when we are essentially the same.

Sitting in a coffee shop, as I start reading Perumal Murugan’s story of a little untouchable boy I begin to feel the usual sympathy for him. But the story cuts me short. This is not about me or my distance from the characters in this act. It is only about a few friends who meet every day whil
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very good book by #perumalmurugan set in the villages of south india. A little boy and his sad life lived in bonded labour and how he falls in a trap one after another. This book is sad and will make you angry at times but this is something we are aware of specially in distant and small parts of the country. Apart from the story the book has beautiful descriptions of nature- the fields and the lake and sometimes mountains surrounding it. A well written book by a senior author. I would give it ...more
For a long time I thought this book was slow and had no plot but by the time it got over I could hardly bear to be around it. I thought it would burn my hands. I won't be forgetting this book soon. ...more
Aruna Kumar Gadepalli
Perumal Murugan with his description of the life of a boy and his place at home, in his community and village made me see way all these works. What is more interesting in village only names are pronounced for the haves and not haves are called by names and preferably their physical or other characteristics. I did observe these aspects and sure not remember reading anywhere (My reading is world is very small and hence my limited knowledge). Many times I felt the books is going to come to an end b ...more
May 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: perumal-murugan
This explains in detail life of goat herds and their slavery. But I did not understand why this book has such rave reviews. It was boring with too detailed description of the landscape.
It's probably impossible to understand India without encountering caste. And this is an excellent portrait of the contradictions and distortions that the caste system wreaks in Indian society. At one level, it's a small and almost mundane story.

It centres around a boy, Shorty, who is in indentured labour to a landowner - the Master (in fact, at one point, Shorty realises he doesn't know his Master's name). The story is woven around the fairly small lives that Shorty and his friends experience i

Tapas Nair
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Seasons of the Palm is about the life of a young untouchable boy called Shorty, who works as a bonded labourer for a powerful landlord's family. Everyday, he cleans his master's crowshed, clears the animal waste, looks after the flock of sheep, cleans the courtyard and does whatever household work that needs to be done. In turn, he gets to sleep in the sheep shed and is fed three meals a day. And for all this domestic drudgery, his parents are paid a measly sum every year by the landlord, which ...more
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jayasree B
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
Seasons of the Palm is the translated version of Koola Madari, the Tamil Novel. It was shortlisted for the Kiriyama Prize in 2005. The translation by V.Geetha is on point. She doesn’t let anything be left out from the book in the process. While translating, she has retained some of the Tamil terms and her effort adds to the charm of the book. I am not sure if the lack of a glossary takes away from relishing the book or adds to its intrigue.

Shorty and his friends are all a part of the untouchable
Rashmi Pakkiri Murugan
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Seasons of the Palm by Perumal Murugan...
I wonder if Perumal Murugan's middle name is poignancy...Every novel of his, which I had read has a poignant ending and leaves a feeling of despair in the readers heart...despair to cling on for long...despair whose only optimism is to make u appreciate all that belongs to you and of which ensues a long list of complaints from your end....
The story is about Shorty a bonded labor..the characters are named Belly, Tall fellow, Stone deaf, Stump leg...Cannot
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book review - Seasons of the palm by Perumal Murugan

Genre - Fiction

Storyline - The book describes the lives of children designated as untouchables in rural Tamil Nadu. There is no strict plot, the book breezes on as a collection of incidents.

Review - Needless to say, the author's writing brings an Indian rural hinterland to life. There are festivals, lustrous crops, open fields, cattle, sheep and young children intertwined with casteism in its rampant gory.

Though the writing is poignant, th
Deepali Joshi
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
An untouchable servant’s life is devoid of almost all the pleasures we take for granted. They toil hard on limited meals and bear the brunt of tiniest mistakes. Their tiny bodies are frail but their hearts are large. Shorty and his friends form a strong bond and share their joys and sorrows. Selvan tries hard to fit in but he is after all the master’s son. When Shorty receives a cruel punishment for an innocent mistake, his thinks he has had it. He no feels any pain on his body but has deep scar ...more
Kunal Gwalani
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Seasons of the Palm" is a story that will challenge your every belief and question all you thought was right. You will experience a pendulum of emotions that will make you livid at the mis-treatment meted out yet feel pitiful for the characters. From anger to sadness to pain and numbness at the end, it we'll leave you drained and yet introspective.

A book with an intrinsic story about society and the differences we create amongst us. A story that's extremely relevant In India given our politica
Shreshtha Singh Rathore
There are stories which have unexpected endings that startle the reader, and then there are stories which go on a straight path, they are predictable, yet you read them because they are simply moving and their essence is spread throughout evenly

This is one of those stories.

The book is about a boy "Shorty" who is an 'untouchable' as many call it. A child no different than other boys of his age; lively, happy, and restless, but burdened by a sin, the sin of being born in a family as his.

It tells
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I have just completed reading the book "Seasons of the Palm". It was originally written in Tamil by Perumal Murugan and translated to English by V. Geetha.

To start with, I was amazed at the way the author has narrated the life of a boy named Shorty who was given into bonded labour and was treated as an untouchable. The book opens us to the life of an ordinary child whose life gets affected adversely by poverty and racism. While reading the book you will be startled as to how Mr. Perumal Murugan
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each of the characters in this book are vibrantly multifaceted. The situations in which they are cast by a casteist societal framework are contrasted incredibly well with their playful, childlike demeanors. This juxtaposition drives much of the sentiments of the book, exacerbating feelings of forced maturity, the suppression of emotions and pain. The chapters were never tough to get through, each introducing further layers to the complex personalities of each of the children. The relationship dy ...more
Jerry Jothi
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the fields outside a village by the Karattur hills, we’re introduced to Shorty, a young untouchable shepherd working for an upper caste family. Shorty’s daily routine includes taking the sheep to graze, subsisting on his portion of Kambu Kanji and meeting with other untouchables employed with different masters. All their lives are all completely at the mercy of their masters and mistresses. There’s an air of perpetual fear in the lives of the characters in the book. Fear of violence, of god, ...more
Subodh Rao
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Seasons of the Palm by Perumal Murugan takes you back to the era where untouchable were a part of the society. Story of ‘Shorty’ an untouchable boy working in the fields of his Master in extremely deplorable conditions but still manages to perform every tasks that his master asks of him without complaining.
It is a very sad story of shorty who has no life or independence of his own, who works for his master like a slave for very little or no money.

The storytelling by the author has been very com
Kalpana  Misra
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was bereft when the book ended - the way you are when a really good story comes to an end and you miss the characters and their setting. The language is so lyrical that you can open the book at any page and be awash with what feels like poetry. Although it's about the way an untouchable shepherd boy spends his days and his joys and sorrows, the reader is fully invested in his life. The casual instances of caste discrimination are so true of the India we live in. I have recommended this book to ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Seasons of the Palm is a nuanced account of the caste system still prevalent in India and its impact on the lives of the people there. It describes the lives of the kids bonded in labour to powerful landowners, having no agency or ability to make their own decisions.

Beautifully written and translated, the book is a gripping read, providing insight not just into social injustices but also of growing up and the complexities of adoloscent friendships.
Shailesh D’Souza
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Haunting, searing portrait of a goat-herder boy. Tethered to an existence borne out by his place in society and yoked to an inextricable fate worse than a beast of burden, this novel written in the author's naturalistic style leaves you with an ending that mars both dominant and vanquished, and as such shows the far-reaching, unintended consequences of violence and subjugation to the loss of all involved. ...more
Maulik Tabiyar
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
a line created by upper castes for untouchables, taunting. shorty, stumpleg, belly, tallfellow their friendship. bounded to field work by their family pressure without any dreams. poochi is a dog comes to shorty for kanji. how their masters treat them.
sometimes funny with best village scenario and nature's blend mixture gives you lessons & also makes us sad.
worth a read #murugan💜💙
Kalaiselvan selvaraj
Subject : Child labour in dairy farming( goat, buffalo,cow) and what’s the Cast(சாதி) done in 1970’s.

Cast(சாதி) has divided by what the work he is doing.

Nothing to say more. Read it u can go to the world of 90’s kongu region.
Arunachalam Bharathi
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a lovely book. What a fine depiction of the innocence of childhood.. and its erosion by the vile ways of adults.
The translation by V Geetha too was very good.
Kalpita Wadher
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Have written a longish review for those interested: ...more
There's way too much reality in real life for me to want to read more about reality. Too heavy on the heart, no, thank you. ...more
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Do NOT merge author profiles in different languages/spelling.

Per GR policy, books published in another language/script should have the name on that book as secondary author, with Perumal Murugan as primary author.

Perumal Murugan is a well-known contemporary Tamil writer and poet. He was written six novels, four collections of short stories and four anthologies of po

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