Bounded by dense Kodagu forests on the south and west, and rivers on the north and east, Perumbadi, at the border between Kerala and Karnataka, has hidden itself from the world. Its very isolation has attracted varied settlers from south Kerala over the years. The first settler on this land, Kunji Varkey, was fleeing the opprobrium of getting his own daughter pregnant. Those who followed had similar shameful secrets. Anthill, the exquisite translation from the Malayalam of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi-winning novel Puttu, is the story of common people who tried to wriggle out of the shackles of family, religion and other restraining institutions, but eventually also struggle to civilize themselves-from their beginnings of a hillbilly existence and life as a promiscuous community. As Perumbadi moves into modernity and feels the need for refined justice, Jeremias comes to be known by the moniker President and becomes the unchallenged adjudicator of Perumbadi, thanks to his equanimity and sense of fairness. However, even as he resolves local disputes, he is troubled by developments in his own home and by his own moral failure. One of the most promising young writers in Malayalam, Vinoy Thomas, in his bestselling second novel, deploys dark humour to question the moral codes that bind society. Ultimately, this is also a story about the human race.