The first part of this as-yet-unnamed novel is the story of Annakutty, a woman living in Kerala, who relinquishes her four-year-old son to tourists passing through town. The story is told many decades later from her deathbed. Part two tells the story of the boy, who is now a man, living in the US Midwest. I am interested in this woman and her son and the circumstances of their lives because all of it makes for a good story. But I am more interested still in the way in which we make sense of our lives through imagining what the future holds for us and through imagining what the past held for us.
The terrifying work of imagining the future falls to Annakutty and, to her son, the work of wrestling with a past that is made hellish by its opacity. Writing this book has also been interesting for letting me inhabit two places – rural Kerala and small-town US Midwest – both places I have had little exposure to. I allow myself the curiosity of wondering whether people in different places organize their thinking about life, sex, culture, etc. differently.
Newspaper Reading In Mumbai
One of the secrets of the taste of the taste of food in a Kerala toddy shop is the use of stock. Unlike what is cooked in regular Indian homes, the toddy shops make their own stock from all the offals and other unused stuff and prepare the special ingredient that makes a big difference
Non one writes about loneliness without making it depressing like Yiyun Li.