Translations are going through the roof as we discover the gems of literature that comes from Indian languages. As we continue through this journey, this week, let’s explore Tamil authors –
A. Perumal Murugan
Perumal Murugan is an Indian author, scholar and literary chronicler who writes in Tamil. He has written ten novels, five collections of short stories and four anthologies of poetry. The translated version of his book, Madhurobhagan, was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize as well as part of the longlist for the 2018 National Book Award.
Some of his best novels are –
a. The Goat Thief –
The Goat Thief is a selection of his ten best stories focussed on men and women who live in the margins of our society.
b. The Well –
Three children coax a visitor to their home to swim in the well with them. But when the young man tires of their play and tries to leave, things take a turn for the worse.
c. The Blouse –
A son feels awkward because his mother doesn’t wear a blouse. But this is how his mother always dressed. What changed suddenly? As he tries to find a solutions before a visit from his prospective in-laws, a simple problem spirals out of control.
B. Ambai –
S. Lakshmi is an Indian feminist writer and independent researcher in women’s studies from India. She writes under the pseudonym Ambai. In 2006, she (along with Lakshmi Holmström) won the Vodafone Crossword Book Award for In a Forest, A Deer. For her contributions to Tamil literature, she received the 2008 Iyal Virudhu (Lifetime Achievement Award) awarded by the Canada-based Tamil Literary Garden.In 2021, she won the Sahitya Akademi Award, India’s highest literary honor, for her collection of short stories Civappuk Kazuttu Tan Oru Paccaip Parava. She writes in both English and Tamil and some of her best stories are –
a. As the Day Darkens –
Sudha Gupta has a flair for solving problems. Armed with sharp eyes and a keen mind, she sets out to find 3 missing sisters. Had the girls been kidnapped or was there something much darker at play? This case will test the warm hearted Sudha’s very belief in humanity!
b. A Meeting on the Andheri Overbridge –
A mysterious woman at the Andheri station captures Sudha Gupta’s interest. When Sudha finally coaxes the abandoned woman’s story out of her, she decides to help her reclaim her property.
c. The Paperboat Maker –
Sudha Gupta is asked to investigate a marriage proposal. Is there more to the charming groom than meets the eye?
C. Nanjil Nadan
Nanjil Nadan is the pseudonym of G. Subramaniam, a Sahitya academy winning Tamil writer from Tamil Nadu, India. He won the Sahitya Akademi award in 2010 in Tamil language category for his collection of short stories Soodiya poo soodarka. He received the Non-Fiction award from The Tamil Literary Garden, Canada for the book ‘Nathiyin Pizhaiyandru Narumpunal Inmai’! Some of his best stories are –
a. The Price of Dignity –
Poomani works in Gangadharan Pillai’s fields all day long to feed her family. Her husband is of no help and her children starve most days. When Gangadharan catches her alone in the dark one day, will Poomani finally have to pay the true cost of rice?
b. The Funeral –
The death of an old man stirs up an entire village. The old man, hated by many, still needs a proper send-off. Will his friends and family come together one last time or will hate take over compassion and love?
c. The King of Idalakudi –
A vagrant, who is a strange fixture in the porches of a village, is content eating leftovers in exchange for amusing banter and touchingly simple affection. Until he is invited for a feast…
D. S Jeyamohan
Bahuleyan Jeyamohan is an Indian Tamil and Malayalam language writer and literary critic from Nagercoil in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. His best-known and most critically acclaimed work is Vishnupuram, a fantasy set as a quest through various schools of Indian philosophy and mythology. In 2014, he started his most ambitious work Venmurasu, a modern renarration of the epic Mahabharata and successfully completed the same, thus creating the world’s longest novel ever written. One of his best story collections is –
Stories of the True –
Containing iconic stories like ‘Elephant Doctor’ and ‘A Hundred Armchairs’, this collection by the great Tamil writer Jeyamohan, brings together twelve inspiring and imaginative narratives, all based on the lives of real people. These stories explore the capacity of humans to hold on to their intrinsic goodness in the face of both the everyday and the extraordinary, and how their response in such moments of truth finds expression in multitudinous ways – as anger, compassion, fortitude, a capacity for suffering, self discovery, a life of silent protest or even eccentric activism.
Gripping, often raw and deeply moving, this striking collection, the first major translation of Jeyamohan’s work in English, will renew your faith in humanity.
Read Jeyamohan’s brilliant collection translated by Priyamvada Ramkumar in Stories of the True – available in bookstores now!