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When a young elephant is brutally orphaned by poachers, it is only a matter of time before he begins terrorizing the countryside, earning his malevolent name from the humans he kills and then tenderly buries with leaves.
Manu, the studious son of a rice farmer, loses his cousin to the gravedigger and is drawn into the alluring world of ivory hunting.
Emma is working on a documentary set in a Kerala wildlife park with her best friend. Her work leads her to witness the porous boundary between conservation and corruption and she finds herself caught up in her own betrayal.
As the novel hurtles toward its tragic climax, these three story lines fuse into a wrenching meditation on love and revenge, fact and myth, duty and sacrifice. In a feat of audacious imagination and arrestingly beautiful prose, the tusk that did the damage tells an original and heart-breaking story about how we treat nature and each other.
The tusk that did the damage is one of the most unusual and affecting books Ive read in a long time. Narrated by a poacher, a filmmaker and most brilliantly, an elephant, this is a compulsively readable, devastating novel. - Jonathan Safran Foer
The tusk that did the damage is a novel of great moral intensity, with the pacing of a thriller. Everyone is implicated. Everyone is righteous. Tania Jame's gift, her genius, is to turn this scenario into an occasion for grace. - Julie Otsuka
The tusk that did the damage is spectacular, a pinwheeling multi-perspectival novel with a cast that includes my favorite character of recent memory, the gravedigger, an orphaned homicidal elephant. Tania James is one of our best writers and here she is at the height of her powers-brilliant, hilarious, capable of the most astonishing cross-cultural interspecies ventriloquies and acrobatic leaps of empathy. You will read this ravishing novel in an afternoon and immediately want to press it on your favorite people. - Karen Russell
About the Author
Tania James's debut novel atlas of unknowns was a New York times editors choice and was shortlisted for the DSC prize for South Asian literature. She has also written the short-story collection aerogrammes and her writing has appeared in 'The New York Times', 'Granta', 'Elle India', 'The Boston Review', 'Guernica', 'Kenyon Review', 'One Story', 'Orion and A Public Space'. Three stories from aerogrammes were finalists for best American short stories 2008 and 2011. From 2011 - 2012, she was a Fulbright fellow to India living in New Delhi. She now lives in Washington DC