Translated into English as Portraits of a Woman by Prema Nandakumar
Chittirappavai is a contemporary social novel written by Akilan, which vividly questions and attempts to address the social structure of marriage and destiny in the 21st century. On one hand, the novel speaks of the mismatched marriage of Annamalai with Sundari and Manickam with Anandi and on the other, it discusses the social fabric and societal immorality through the materialistic Manickam and the ‘forward-thinking’ Sundari. Its relevance in this day can be ascertained by reviewer Jameel Ahamed concluding statement that Chittrapavai is a projection of likely trends in the 21st century – the new woman, the emerging woman of the succeeding century may not sit and watch idly as the society tramples over her. The novel won the Jnanpith Award in 1975.
About the Author
Akilan was the pen name of Akilandam, the first of only two Tamil-language Jnanpith awardees, who wrote and translated more than 20 novels, 200 short stories, essays, and plays. His writings won multiple awards, including the Jnanpith in 1975 — the first Jnanpith to be awarded to a Tamil writer — and his works have been translated into a slew of languages, including Russian and Chinese. He was uncompromising in his views, yet able to adapt, and outspoken to the end.