In her del­i­cate poet­ry, her feisty non-fic­tion writ­ing, Kan­dasamy has always been a woman “shel­tered with­in words”. (Pho­to: Cedric Gerome) “The num­ber one les­son I have learnt as a writer: Don’t let peo­ple remove you from your own sto­ry,” writes the unnamed nar­ra­tor in Meena Kandasamy’s new nov­el When I Hit You: Or, A Por­trait of the Writer as a Young Wife (Jug­ger­naut). Just like her bat­tered young pro­tag­o­nist, whose mar­riage unspools into a night­mare when she moves with her hus­band to a new city to set up a life togeth­er, it’s a les­son that Kan­dasamy had to learn the hard way, too. In 2011, she mar­ried the man she loved — she had met him dur­ing the course of her Left­ist activism and he had seemed to share her ideals. But, in the four months that fol­lowed, hemmed in by a cycle of esca­lat­ing phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al humil­i­a­tion, it was her intel­lec­tu­al life that offered her the grit­ty resolve to write her own end­ing. In her sec­ond nov­el after The Gyp­sy God­dess (2014), Kan­dasamy walks the thin line between imag­i­na­tion and lived expe­ri­ence. In spare, vis­cer­al prose, she sit­u­ates her­self at the cen­tre of her nov­el — she […]