Book review of Estuary


Why I Picked This Book?

Estuary is my fourth book from the stable of Perumal Murugan and I liked all three of them that I read. His writing style and storytelling is simple yet powerful. He weaves his observations and experiences from daily life into words so beautifully that the reader is mesmerized. So when I came across this book I decided to have a go and what a wonderful experience it was.

The Book

Estuary is story of a nuclear family of three set up in a urban landscape. Kumarasurar, his wife Mangasuri and his son Mangas. Kumarasurar works in government office, his wife is homemaker and his son is now studying is college. The story primarily revolves around the lives of these three protagonists with Kumarasurar, the father in the forefront.

The author captures the various aspects and challenges of people in urban areas. While reading the book as a reader you will  relate with the characters and the situations they face in their day to day life. The author has great observations skills and an eye for details, which you will find while reading the book.

There is comment on unnecessary consumerism, on too much intervention of technology in our lives, on parents trapped in the rat race to send their kids to “best” school and colleges and they (school/colleges) in-turn taking advantage of the parents fears and insecurities of missing out on the best.

One day Kamarasurar receives a call from his son, who demands an expensive phone, and then starts the problems for Kumarasurar. He starts to think how will he arrange for the phone? Why his son needs so expensive phone? He came across news of youngsters killed while taking selfies which makes him shiver. Then he came across some news of people using the high end phones for taking compromising pictures of girls and women and starts to wonder why his son needs so expensive phone. The author takes you through the various emotions and thoughts of Kumarasurar and while reading, you will surely relate to some. The whole story is build on the fears and anxieties of father of teenage son.

There is a satirical comment on the state of education, and how the schools and colleges have become shops in a shopping malls alluring the prospective clients (parents looking for school and college for their wards).  A brief comment on government jobs and the aversion of technology among the middle aged and older generation. The evils of technology and the easy availability of internet access.

All in all Estuary is beautifully written story and while reading you marvel how effortlessly the author has build up a story from a single demand of an expensive phone from his son. The author takes you to a journey of a father’s state of mind, his fears, insecurities, concern regarding his son. As you start the book, you want to keep reading it to know what happens next in the life of Kumarasurar. The author has captured the world around him and human emotions beautifully.

 About the Author

Perumal Murugan is one of the most acclaimed writers of the Tamil language. Besides Poonachi, or the Story of a Black Goat, two more of his novels translated into English—Trial by Silence and A Lonely Harvest—have also been shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature. Murugan is now the principal at the Government Arts College in Namakkal.

Our Verdict

Estuary is a must read for all Murugan readers. Those who haven’t read Perumal Murugan can start with this book. A simple, witty, realistic story of a middle class family by the master story teller.

To get your own copy click on the link below.

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