When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy

When I Hit You

Seduced by politics and poetry, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor and agrees to be his wife, but what for her is a contract of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealised version of a kept woman, bullying her out of her life as an academic and writer in the process, she attempts to push back - a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape. Smart, fierce and courag...

Details When I Hit You

TitleWhen I Hit You
Release DateMay 4th, 2017
PublisherAtlantic Books
GenreFiction, Feminism, Cultural, India, Poetry, Literary Fiction, Contemporary

Reviews When I Hit You

  • Srividya
    Many years ago, when I was studying law, I worked with a non profit organization that dealt with women’s issues along with many others. I was in my final year of law when I met her. She was a woman from a well to do family, husband had a thriving business and all was good and dandy when seen from outside but the inside was a different story altogether. She came to me one evening as I was alone in the office. My senior had gone out and I was alo...
  • Preethi
    Must read. For everyone. If you are a woman, read this book and tell yourself how bad some people in this world could be. If you are a man, read it to know the atrocities women have to put up with. If you are a parent, read this to know that you have to support your girl and teach your boy to be a sensitive human being. And if you are a citizen of the world, read it to know how harsh the world is and how quick it is to judge, in many cases.The so...
  • Meike
    "That is the aim of the rapes, all this rough sex. Not just a disciplining, but a disabling. He believes that after him, I will have nothing in me to love, to make love, to give pleasure. This is a man breaking his own wife. This is a man burning down his own house."This is not for the faint of heart, the book is in fact full of paragraphs like the one cited above. Kandasamy tells the story of a highly educated Indian woman from a well-to-do fami...
  • Preethi Krishnan
    As much as I want to write an objective review of this book, I am unable to do so. In this book, Meena chronicles a woman's experience of marital violence, in all its forms - physical, emotional, verbal, and rape. I remember the deep sense of shock I felt when I read Meena's essay about the same topic in Outlook magazine long back. I also remember feeling another kind of disgust in the aftermath of that essay. The number of men(some who were frie...
  • Jubi
    "And the more familiar the strange becomes, the more and more strange the familiar appears. That’s how the once-upon-a-time fiery feminist becomes a battered wife. By observing, but not doing anything. By experiencing, but not understanding. By recording but not judging."
  • Jonathan Pool
    Is this happening to you? The disbeliefDid you let this happen to you? The shockWhy did you put up with all of this? The shame (219)Prior to the announcement of the Women’s Prize for Fiction I was not aware of Mena Kandasamy’s writing, or her political activism. It’s interesting that she, and fellow Indian political activist, Arundhati Roy are both listed for 2018 Women’s Prize. Arundhati Roy also gets a name reference in “When I Hit Yo...
  • Vishy
    I discovered 'When I Hit You' through reader-members of a book group that I am part of. It looked like a tough read but a book which was hard to resist. I couldn't. I read the book slowly but read most of it in a day. Here is what I think.'When I Hit You' is a story told in the first person. The unnamed woman narrator talks about how she fell in love with a professor and married him. She is a writer, is widely read, has a deep and wide intellect,...
  • Syl
    -A harrowing read, more so because I have an inkling that such things are rampant, though well masked in our society.-Such things being domestic abuse within, and sometimes outside the four private walls- the protagonist is an educated female journalist who falls foe a suave college professor, after many unsatisfactory and broken affairs.- within a few days of marriage she is exposed to the uglier side of marriage- verbal and mental abuse soon es...
  • Eric Anderson
    This is a book that felt so thrillingly alive and teeming with ideas that I frequently copied down quotes while I was reading it. Meena Kandasamy writes about a young woman reflecting on the atrociously abusive marriage that she lived through. Her narrative is very analytical as it artfully poses statements with challenging concepts and ideas about why abuse occurs, why the abused feel pressured to remain in that relationship and the challenges o...
  • BellaGBear
    The main character has no name in this story, and is only referred to as ‘she’. This is deliberately done by Meena Kandasamy, because in this way the story of ‘she’ becomes the story of every woman. Or to speak in Kandasamy’s own words: “a woman at whom society cannot spit or throw stones, because this me is a she who is made up only of words on a page, and the lines she speaks are those that everyone hears in their own voice”. In t...
  • Sarah
    Wow. Given the title I expected this book to be intense and hard-hitting but I still don't think I was completely prepared for how raw and graphic this was.Our unnamed narrator (a young Indian woman writer in her late 20s) has a secret affair with and ends up marrying an older political activist and moves in with him, isolating her from her family. Almost immediately after marriage the domestic abuse begins. Her husband is a paranoid, sick and ma...
  • Vijetha
    This hasn't been an easy read. But then, there are certain books that aren't meant to be quick or easy. It is books like this one that tear you apart, dissect your fears, look through and dig out the deepest, darkest, and scariest of the lot and build a mighty empire around it. I recommend you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally if you decide on picking this one. It's not going to be easy. But it deserves to be read. Her words need to be re...
  • Sindhura
    And the more familiar the strange becomes, the more and more strange the familiar appears. That's how the once-upon-a-time feminist becomes a battered wife. By observing, but not doing anything. By experiencing, but not understanding. By recording but not judging.By getting used. By no longer being the outsider. By becoming the native informant. By becoming the specimen in a lab, by becoming the case study.The red dot needs to be saved from itsel...
  • Claire McAlpine
    An incredible work of creativity in working through the post-trauma of domestic violence. I am reminded of the quote I shared on my blog, in my review of Aminatta Forna's Happiness, a quote that came from Salman Rushdie in fact.“Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new tho...
  • Blodeuedd Finland
    I really do not know how to review this one. It is both raw, poetic and close.We never even learn her name. It is told in first person and it is very matter of fact. A young writer falls for her professor. They both share a passion for communism. They marry and it all turns to hell. They are not married for long before she gets away, but that times shapes her. We see how he controls her more and more. Tells her what to do, what to think, what to ...
  • Poornima
    Powerful, hard-hitting, searing...one runs out of adjectives to desecribe the book. The author plays with words and imagery to weave a story of love, search for identity and independence, angst,political and social awakening, marriage and......ABUSE- physical,mental,emotional...in more ways than we can imagine.
  • Darkphoenix
    When I Hit You was a tough read. Its plot is fairly simple, woman gets married, the husband turns out to be an abusive a-hole and she manages to escape. The plot is not novel, but what makes the book an absolutely gripping read, is the way it is written. I found out about the book completely by accident when I read an article about it in The Wire, I'll post the link to it because even the article is worth a read. I am not entirely sure how the bo...
  • Sandra
    Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018Do we recognise the walls that are built around us until they close in? Do we think youthful optimism and modern values will protect us from hindsight? Do we comprehend the vulnerability of a broken heart?This book is a first person narration of a young woman, who perceived that she is living a liberated life in India as a modern woman, yet impulsively falls into an abusive marriage.With each chapt...
  • Archana
    I was in no doubt what this book was about when I picked it up. First few pages in and I realized that I am as helpless as the lizard which stands still in the writer's home watching the terror unfold. The narrator was abused as a wife and she fled her marriage. Simply said.The author is a formidable force in her writing. She shows her wounds and shares her letters. I felt the despair, pride, suffering and courage flitting through the pages. I fe...
  • Priya
    Must. Must. Must. Read.
  • Janani
    Will leave you devastating and enraged.TW: marital rape, verbal abuse, physical abuse, violence, suicidal thoughts, misogyny
  • Zeba
    A powerful book, might be the best I'll read this year. I've many thoughts, I'll come back when I'm less overwhelmed and much more composed.
  • Raghunath Kalpana-Ananth
    Honest, hard hitting and brutal. Must have been cathartic for the author. An intimate and searing portrayal of domestic violence, marital rape and the struggle for survival - both physical and emotional.
  • Zara Rahman
    I had a run of great books towards the end of this year, so I've probably said this already: but if there's one book I could recommend everyone read, I think it'd be this one. In a review of the book in The Wire, Deepa writes a list of "people you should give this book to" and describes far better than I ever could, why the book is so important. It's a spellbinding account that covers the complexity of domestic abuse so well, beautifully written...
  • Indu
  • Claire
    I don't think I'll ever forget this book. "When I Hit You" is Meena Kandasamy's account of her marriage to an abusive husband, written with unflinching honesty. It's devastating. It's raw. And it's unbelievably powerful. It was also incredibly brave of Kandasamy to let her mind return to the site of such trauma, to share her reflections with the world - especially when, as explored in the book, such disclosures often lead to victim-blaming and ju...
  • Sutha
    Seduced by politics, poetry and an enduring dream of building a better world together, a young woman falls in love with a university professor. Marrying him and moving to a rain-washed coastal town, she swiftly learns that what for her is a bond of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets up bullying her into his ideal of an obedient wife, and devouring her ambition of being a writer in the process, she begins to push back - a resistan...
  • Ashima Jain
    Meena Kandasamy, in her novel – When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife – writes a hard-hitting account of a writer’s marriage in an effort to lift the veil on the silence that surrounds domestic violence and marital rape in modern India.She addresses compelling questions in her lyrical style of writing that is poetic and draws you into it’s prose. The incidents she describes play havoc with your mind, and they are no...
  • Lovedreadingthis
    This short but hard hitting book, told by an unnamed narrator depicting their marriage, characterised by control, abuse and violence. Insightful and beautifully written this book is an important read for anyone (everyone) to aid understanding of domestic abuse and why women stay and the ingoing repercussions after they leave.Reading like an autobiographical account but actually a work of fiction drawing upon the authors own experiences this book ...