The Cane-Cutter's Song
- Author: Raphaël Confiant, Vidya Vencatesan
- Publisher: Speaking Tiger
- ISBN: 9789354470769
Lured by the promise of easy money in the faraway land of hope the Americas Adhiyaman Dorassamy embarks on a formidable crossing that of two turbulent oceans so as to not end up like his parents in 'the jackal's belly . A resident of Madurai, Dorassamy hopes to flee poverty and the great famines at the height of British colonial rule in India.
As the ship docks at the harbours of the French colony of Martinique in the 'West Indies', the Dorassamys soon realise their predicament: like the thousands of 'Coolies' before them, they are to now replace the freed Negro slaves in the sugarcane plantations. Ostracised by the former slaves, blindly subjected to the whims of the white planters, demonised by the omnipotent Catholicism that looks down on their pagan gods, these 'Coolie' Indians swiftly learn the art of survival and plunge into an unfamiliar world where just like their forgotten deities, their language too has faced amongst the Creole words.
In The Cane-Cutter's song, published in French as La panse du chacal, award-winning Martinican author Raphaël Confiant illuminates the lesser known side of West Indian identity- the Indian side of the Creole, and within it the story of thousands of lost Indians who longed to return home. Available for the first time in English, this impeccable translation of a sweeping historical novel by Vidya Vencatesan, rich with Creole canto and the mellifluous sounds of Tamil, is an immersive and rivetting read.