Anthology of short stories
PUDUMAIPPITHAN SIRU KATHAIKAL Vol. I: S. Subash Chandra Bose Compiler; Pavai Publications, 142, Jani Jan Khan Road, Royapettah, Chennai-600014. Rs. 75.
THE EPONYMOUS literary giant of this book was a legend in his lifetime. Though this initial compilation carries only seven long pieces, the five volume project is intended to cover all his short stories. The pick of this volume in a nutshell:
"Thunbakkeni" is the harrowing tale of the unlettered in the Dalit community, the womenfolk of which suffered to the extreme including sexual assaults. The locale was the tea estates of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, where a hapless woman had gone to eke out a meagre existence. What happened to her husband and his so-called daughter? Thereby hangs a tale.
"Naasakkaara Kumbal" is about a barber who, locked in a property dispute with a landlord, received a good thrashing which illogically provoked him to be converted.
"Chellammal" is a moving story of an ailing housewife in her deathbed with her husband in financial straits. The premonition attributed to her makes the story all the more poignant.
"Kadavulum Kandasamippilaiyum" is an imaginary conversation between man and God to focus on human frailties. "Kapaadapuram" which takes the reader to a visionary world comes close to science fiction.
The book is vitiated by numerous misprints. It would have been wonderful if the original source in which each story was first published was made available as in A.R.Venkatachalapathy's mega collection. But the compiler's preface and the publisher's introduction deserve mention.
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