Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Arasoor Vamsam

Let me at the outset thank Kizhakku Pathippagam for giving me an opportunity to review this novel. There is just one word to describe this work - mind blowing ! Let be warned, this is not a easy read. It did take multiple sittings to finish this novel. Magic realism is the technique employed in this novel. The author, Era. Murukan, dexterously weaves this work of fiction that it leaves us readers spellbound. His use of arcane Brahminical lingo, folk songs, Malayalam dialects sends the reader into a tizzy.

Time is the leitmotif in this novel. The Banian Brothers, facilitators of the novel, are the symbols of Time. Each character will linger for a long time in the minds of the readers - tobacco merchant Subramanya Iyer, Swaminathan, Sankaran, etc, are all well etched.

The story line is thin but it is the writer's technique which dazzles the reader. The novel is redolent of the rich smell of tobacco. One cannot but marvel at Era. Mugukan's felicity with words and mastery of the craft of writing.

In Era. Murukan's own words "The bits and pieces of information on my family’s roots form the framework of this novel. But whatever urged me to write it, pushed me to expand that framework and go beyond it — about 150 years before my time, in fact. I was no longer myself but had morphed into a tobacco merchant, a cook, a Brahmin-Christian, a snuff-trading Muslim, a depleted and powerless zamindar, an astrologer, a clerk of the Sarkar , a temple priest, a child, an old man, a dasi, a controlling and controlled wife, an abandoned woman, an ancestral spirit, a ghost. I entered
houses of marriage and death, travelled on ships and bullock carts, I was part of all these experiences, I was also their observer. When I finished writing the 52 chapters, I felt an extraordinary sense of contentment and joy.

If this novel shares a little of that happiness and contentment with you, that would be reward enough."

Must I need to add more. This book has already been eulogized by eminent writers like Sujatha and P.A. Krishnan. This is easily one of the best works in contemporary Tamil fiction.

Incidentally an English translation of this work "The Ghosts of Arasur" has been published recently. Those who cannot read Tamil can peruse it and I am sure they will be remembering this book for a long time.

Novel Title : Arasoor Vamsam

Author் : Era. Murukan

Price : Rs.175

Pages : 464

Publishers: Kizhakku Pathippagam, 33/15, Eldams Road,
Alwarpet, Chennai - 600 018.
Telephone : 044-42009601/03/04
Fax : 044-43009701

To buy the book online click here


குப்பன்_யாஹூ said...

nice review.

I missed to meet you in book exhibition. I read your comment about book exhibition.

Nice to hear that you met Es Raa and got his autograph.

All your purchased books are great one.

best wishes


Krishnan said...

Thanks a lot.

Artnavy said...

thanks for the link!!