I am not a double exclamation point user – or multiple as is in this case – but Pyre by Perumal Murgugan, translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, and courtesy of PGC Books requires extra punctuation, particularly as you get to the end.
For a 194-page book, it took me a while to read it mainly because the entire caste system – and the fact it still exists – infuriates me. It was also hard to stomach how Kumaresan’s mother and entire village treated him and his new wife, Saroja, whom he married out of – wait for it – love. Gasp. Monsters! (Insert dripping sarcasm here.)
Saroja was scared. You could feel it in the way Murgugan wrote her character and you can’t really blame her. She goes from a small town where people socialized with everyone regardless of their caste and where food and other necessary items were available at local businesses. Kumaresan moves them both to his small village where the darkness is so black the oil lamps barely penetrate it. As her mother-in-law continues to spit venom at her, Saroja retreats within herself and never feels safe without her husband around. You have to feel sorry for Kumaresan as well. Perhaps he was naïve, but he truly felt that given time, his family would be happy for him. Snort. He seemed to have completely misread that situation.
But the ending. I couldn’t believe it. All that pain, all that hate, and that is how it ended!!!!!!!!!
Pyre was courtesy of PGC Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.