A Secret History of Compassion is about a popular novelist, Spider, who has been commissioned by the Communist Party to write an essay on the mutually exclusive existence of a human quality like mercy, and capitalism. Spider’s project gradually turns out to be a collaborative one involving a professional executioner, Jesus Pillai, Spider’s dog and his philosopher wife, Rosi. In the course of the enterprise, the characters become bats, fly around, and voyeurism is justified as a witnessing method to miracles.
Paul Zacharia is a leading Malayalam writer and public intellectual. Some of his fiction are outstanding in their psychoanalytic astuteness and structural strengths. He is not easily swayed by conventions, and has very often courted controversies. A Secret History is his foray into Anglophone fiction. It is likely to have a perplexing effect on the reader.