By M. Mukundan
Translated into English as God’s Mischief by Prema Jayakumar
The novel is set in Mahé, the French colony after it was decolonized. The story is based on a magician, Father Alfonso, his daughter, Elsee and an Ayurveda Vaidyar Kumaran and his two twin sons and how their life changes after the land is decolonised. As post-colonial Mayyazhi (Mahe) tries to come to terms with its new-found independence, young men leave to seek their fortunes abroad. And many of the older generation, orphaned by the departure of the French, struggle to eke out a living even as they remember their days of plenty under their foreign masters. Caught up in their suffering, Kumaran Vaidyar does everything he can to keep the people of his beloved Mayyazhi from starving, but entrusts his own children to the care of his wife, who is no more. Meanwhile, Father Alphonse waves his magic wand and changes pebbles into candy and waits for his good-looking son to return. Through all this, untroubled by the woes of the elders, Shivan, Shashi and Elsie spend an idyllic childhood in sunny, sleepy Mayyazhi. Until the day of reckoning catches up with them and they pay the price of growing up. It won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992 and was also adapted into a film by noted director Lenin Rajendran in the same year.
About the Author
Sahitya Akademi Award winning author Maniyambath Mukundan, popularly known as M. Mukundan, is one of the pioneers of modernity in Malayalam literature. His first literary work was a short story published in 1961. Mayyazhippuzhayude Theerangalil, Daivathinte Vikrithikal, Kesavante Vilapangal and Pravasam are some of his notable works. Mukundan has so far published 12 novels which include his later works such as Adithyanum Radhayum Mattu Chilarum, Oru Dalit Yuvathiyude Kadanakatha, Kesavante Vilapangal, Nritham and ten collections of short stories. Three of his novels were made into feature films in Malayalam.