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A simple and moving story about one of the great human concerns of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: migration in search of a better life!
Najeebs dearest wish is to work in the Gulf and earn enough money to send back home. He achieves his dream only to be propelled by a series of incidents, grim and absurd, into a slave-like existence herding goats in the middle of the Saudi desert. Memories of the lush, verdant landscape of his village and of his loving family haunt Najeeb whose only solace is the companionship of goats. In the end, the lonely young man contrives a hazardous scheme to escape his desert prison.
Goat Days was published to acclaim in Malayalam and became a bestseller. One of the brilliant new talents of Malayalam literature, Benyamins wry and tender telling transforms this strange and bitter comedy of Najeebs life in the desert into a universal tale of loneliness and alienation.
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Benyamin has lived in Bahrain since 1992. His short story collection Euthanasia won the first award of the Abu Dhabi Malayalam Samajam. His novel Aadu Jeevitham (A Goats Life) won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for 2009.
Joseph Koyipally is an associate professor in comparative literature at the Central University of Kerala.
“Very seldom in life does a book like Goat Days come along and ruin you for other books. It becomes like that mythic true love you once felt for someone when you were still innocent—but now that you have lived through it, you no longer are that innocent person. . . . The same feeling courses through you after you read books like Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and Orwell’s Animal Farm. Perfectly pitched books, with the language kept out of the way of storytelling.” (Dawn)
“An unusual worker’s-tale from the Gulf States where, instead of (technological) modernity, building and consumer frenzies, and oil-related activity one is confronted almost only with the most desolate of rural locales, Goat Days is an interesting slice of Saudi life—but one that also reaches far beyond its specifics, much of the novel’s strength coming from how universal the tale is.” (Complete Review)
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