Mira Cheriyan is both actor and witness in The Salt Doll. When she is part of the action, she is the salt doll which dissolves in the sea and loses identity. This, according to Mira, is the feminine way of experiencing. When she witnesses and reports, she is like quicksilver; she touches everything while remaining untouched. Alternating between these two modes, Mira tells a dazzling, savage, sophisticated tale.
Mira’s life with Nanjundan is presented in vivid segments. The scenes, rich and powerful in themselves, are part of the central theme of separation of husband from wife, parent from child, one race from the next. It is a theme, at once violent and instinctual, and Daniels Ramanujan has a found a style richly adequate to its telling. In its rapid kaleidoscope of characters and scenes, its prodigality of language, and above all, in its energy and compassion, The Salt Doll presents readers with a Whitmanesque celebration of life.
‘The Salt Doll, an iconic book of its time which we loved, brings back nostalgia in a big way. I applaud its gallop through whimsy, through the lush Kerala landscape and the intricate weave of its social fabric. A must read for those who love Indian literature and Kerala.’—Keki N. Daruwalla