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 […]