Who Are You?

A gripping tale of a young woman ripped out of her university education and married off to a monster twice her age who lives in the unspecified tropics (and who’s nickname is Dog Head because of the way he eats). She ignores him and tries to read and survive the heat, listening to the incessant chatter of the birds whose cries sound like “Who Are You?”. One day, she’s saved from terminal boredom by a visitor her own age, Suede Boots, a young man who brings her to life again. He drops by every day for tea, until suddenly her husband comes home and throws him out. Dog Head is supplied with her secret letter inviting her back to university, rapes her, and tells her she’s going to have his son. She escapes out into the monsoon. Dog Head gets drunk and fights rats with a racquet (his favorite pastime), succumbing to a biting rat and a piece of furniture that falls on him. Things get odd in the book about this point. Instead of dying and she lives happily ever after, we’re jerked back in time to Suede Boots having tea and the husband coming in again. Details change slightly in the retelling of events, but not enough to merit a retelling. Was this an unfinished work of Kavan’s that the gravediggers thought to cash in on? Aside from the weird dual ending, terrific writing, strong yet ambivalent heroine, and a clear pronouncement against marriage.