By M. V. Venkatram
Translated into English as The Revolt of the Ears by K.G. Seshadri for Sahitya Akademi (2008)
Kathugal portrays the colossal struggle of an intellectual with refined sensibilities to cope with the onslaught of mysterious evil forces upon his consciousness which takes the form of different sounds and human voices heard within his ears. The story depicts the various efforts the hero Magalingam makes to save himself with the help of spiritual guides and masters until finally his abiding faith in Lord Murugan saves him from becoming totally insane. He recovers his faith in the end by clinging to his personal god. The novel is in a way a portrayal of the eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil that has been going on in the mind of man ever since he was turned out of Eden. For its profound spiritual concern, its visionary sublimity, its intense portrait of the human dilemma, its subtle employment of day-to-day speech, its rare use of fantasy and its innovative narrative technique, Kathugal has been recognized a great landmark in Indian fiction.
The novel was awarded Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993.
About the Author
M.V. Venkataram first started publishing in the literary magazine Manikodi in the 1930s. His works have been published in magazines like Kaalamohini, Grama Ooozhiyan, and Sivaji. He also ran a literary magazine named Thenee briefly. He has written over two hundred short stories and novels. Nithya Kanni, Kathugal, and Velivithee are his most noted works. He wrote more than 60 short biographies for Palaniappa Brothers and translated over 10 books for the National Book Trust of India.
A lesser-known character in Mahabharat, daughter of Yayati, became the main character in M.V.V’s imagination. Madhavi had the wondrous boon of regaining her virginity each time she gavé birth to a child. As a result, she has to marry three kings and a sage. The thoughts of the earlier days and the complexity are pictured graphically in this novel.
Translated into English by P. Balasubrainanian as Beyond The Sky for Sahitya Akademi (2010)
Vanam Vasappadum is considered to be a major contribution to the genre of the historical novel in Tamil literature. It documents the founding, consolidation, and collapse of the French colonial venture in India with Puducherry (Pondicherry) as its center. Oscillating between the period 1740 and 1750, the novel brings history and fiction together to produce an intriguing narrative of the French empire envisaged through the diary of Anandarangam Pillai, the Dubash for the French government in Puducherry. What unfolds is not only a slice of history but also the various facets of human nature under the colonial regime of the French empire. Set in a time when the British imperialists were attempting to bring India under their control, with all weapons at their disposal, the French imperialists were successfully implementing it.
The novel was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1995.
About the Author
Prapanchan was born in 1945 in Puducherry. He has published 18 collections of short stories, 14 novels, one novelette, and one collection of plays. He has been honoured with several awards and honours including the Tamil Nadu Government’s Best Writer Award for the years 1982 and 1986 respectively. He was also awarded the Pondicherry Government’s Best Writer Award in the year 1986. A number of his works have been translated into Indian languages, English, and French.
Oru Kaveriyai Pole
By Thiripurasundari 'Lakshmi'
Translated into English as Ripples in the River by Mrs Indira Ananthakrishnan
Oru Kaveriyai Pole is based mainly on the encounters of a South African-born Indian girl, who visits India and is treated to a chain of ordeals which impairs her visit around her native country and people. This novel has been acclaimed as one of the best contemporary novels in modern Tamil Literature, for its realism, narrative power, artistic presentation and deep insight into the life of Tamils in South Africa. It won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984.
About the Author
Dr Thirupurasundari popularly known as Lakshmi started writing when she was fourteen. Despite her busy medical profession in South Africa, she had written more than a hundred novels and thousands of short stories, besides articles on various subjects including medicine.