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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Goat Days by Benyamin. Goat Days by Benyamin. 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.
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. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. Published July 17th by Penguin first published August More Details Original Title. Hakim , Najeeb , Hamid. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Goat Days , please sign up.
Sreekumar Nair Yes, only if you know the person well enough. Muhammad Ali I can sent you as pdf file. Contact me on. Remember to mention. See all 22 questions about Goat Days…. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Goat Days. Way back in the 's, I remember reading a story by Ursula K.
It disturbed me greatly at that time. It was about this perfect country, Omelas, where there was no sorrow or disease, and everybody was happy. There was only one catch: Omelas was paying for this happiness through the misery of one child, kept locked in a cellar and treated cruelly perpetually. This was the pact that Omelas had made with the powers that be: the misery of one human being i Way back in the 's, I remember reading a story by Ursula K.
This was the pact that Omelas had made with the powers that be: the misery of one human being in exchange for the bliss of one country. Quite a bargain, if you think of it. But there were people, when the truth became known, walked away from Omelas; because they could not make peace with the bargain. They were the hope of humanity.
When I initially read the story, I proudly said to myself that I would be one of those. Now I hang my head in shame I stay there and enjoy life.
The term "Middle East" brings to mind images of prosperous towns populated by beautiful people, enjoying the glittering night-life with wine and song, all powered by the petro-dollar. What the casual observer misses is the depths of misery just below the surface-the misery the novelist Benyamin has brutally portrayed in his award-winning Malayalam novel, "Aadujeevitham" Goat Life. The story is narrated in first person by Najeeb, your average lower middle-class Muslim youth from Kerala in India.
He does not know anything of the Middle East, other than that the "Gulf" is an endless source of prosperity. Like many of his countrymen, he also yearns to work there, earn some quick money, pay off his debts, build a house and generally live a moderately good life. However, fate has something else in store for him: whisked away from the Riyadh airport in Saudi Arabia directly into the heart of the desert by his Arab sponsor, he is put to the job of tending goats.
This is not your pastoral idyll. Najeeb is forced to stay all time in the open desert, whether it is the blazing hot summer noon or the biting winter night. He is given only Kuboos Arabic bread soaked in water to eat; water, and occasionally goat milk, to drink. He has only one set of clothes, which he is supposed to wear continuously.
Baths are out of the question. Najeeb tends goats, sheep and camels without rest throughout the day. Any small mistake results in horrendous beatings. He slowly realises this is going to be his life from now on-like the goats, castrated and penned in, till one day they make the final journey to the slaughterhouse. He forms a deep kinship with the goats; gives them the names of his acquaintances from home and talks to them regularly. He rejoices when they give birth and mourns when they die.
Towards the end of the story, as his humanity is almost totally stripped away, he even sleeps with a she-goat. Najeeb is a pious, God-fearing Muslim. This, coupled with the fatalism that is the hallmark of most Indians, Najeeb is the perfect victim, the slave every owner would love to have. But it is also this unquestioning acceptance of his fate that allows Najeeb to survive his ordeal for three and a half years.
Finally when he escapes, that too is orchestrated by others — even though, ironically, he is the only one who escapes. The depths to which human beings can plunge is narrated without any sentimentality or righteousness, almost in the tone of a child which has met unfair treatment at the hands of its parents.
Benyamin tells the whole story in unembellished, first-person narrative; while it makes for rather simplistic writing at times, the voice of the protagonist flows through clearly. This is a brutal book which does not pull any punches. But then, it should not. Thousands of the poor from India pay huge amounts for visas to the Gulf countries, to agencies who fleece them mercilessly; only to discover when they reach the Promised Land that they have sold themselves into virtual slavery.
Benyamin does a great thing: even though he does not walk away from Omelas, he shines his light on the abused child, not allowing us to forget its presence there. View all 31 comments.
Sitting in the air conditioned lounge of a coffee shop, sipping on freshly brewed coffee and mumbling that life is becoming dull to a good looking woman was I. That too was a way of fishing for her sympathy wherein she patted my arm and said Talk to me about it why don't you?
I came back home after assurances of meeting each other again later. Knowing that the day has been a long one, I took a shower alternating between hot and cold water. Plopped dow Sitting in the air conditioned lounge of a coffee shop, sipping on freshly brewed coffee and mumbling that life is becoming dull to a good looking woman was I.
Plopped down on the bed, picked up the mobile phone and started texting and being good at multi tasking, kept going through Facebook and after a while shut it all and yawned and recited again in my mind This is so boring! From amidst a pile of books, I pick up Aadujeevitham and with each chapter I looked back at myself with revulsion and contempt.
It was a book that made ashamed at all the whining I had made of the little setbacks I faced in life. At the risk of sounding cliched, I must say that this book made me look with complete perplexion at all the things that I took for granted in my life.
The title Aadujeevitham translates into Living like a goat and the meaning of this title is very deep. By deep I mean something you can feel piercing deeper into your skin with each word. A man's struggle for survival, one day at a time with only a belief in god as his beacon in the darkness is something I have seen, heard and read before but knowing that this was a true story made me close my eyes for a short while and shudder!
A lot many of my friends who have read this book have called this a depressing work but to me it was extremely uplifting a book. I could only marvel at the will of a single human being to survive against the titanic odds stacked against him.
It is such little anecdotes that remind us that we are resilient beyond measure and none of the so called self-help books will even hold a candle against such blazing accounts from life.
View all 9 comments. The style of narration was really good too :. View 2 comments. A supremely good read.
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Goat Days by Benyamin. Our Assessment: B : quite affecting and effective. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review 's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.
Migrant Rights - Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East
Reviewed by Sheheryar Sheikh. 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. You may stop reading altogether, for a while, just to let memories of Goat Days flow through you unchecked. Perfectly pitched books, with the language kept out of the way of storytelling. That is what good books do. They take language out of the equation by simplifying it, making it purely functional.