Review of A preface to man by Subhash Chandran

Book Name         - A preface to man
Author                  -Subhash Chandran(author) Fathima E.V (translator)
Publisher              - Harper Collins
Number of Pages -464
Publishing Year   -2016
Edition                  -Paperback
Price                     -499
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Rating : 5.0

Ann Marie reads fragments of her dead husband’s unfinished book, and the many love letters he sent her, and in them the social and political events of the time. As she ponders the writing and the years that the brilliant Jithendran squandered working for a toy company that makes drum-playing monkeys, the narrative gives way to the sweeping saga of a village by the river Periyar. Grappling with issues of equality, love, caste, religion and politics, Thachanakkara is a microcosm of twentieth-century Kerala. Told through the history of three generations of a feudal Nair family, this sprawling story is reminiscent of the craft of Gabriel García Márquez’s. A Hundred Years of Solitude and has the scale of Sunil Gangopadhyay’s those Days. A Preface to Man is an artistic meditation on human existence and is a contemporary classic.

My Review
A beautiful book. The narration is realistic. Author left me speechless once the book ended. While taking the readers through the lives of three generations, authors kept the backstory straight. The social cultural and political background of Kerala is depicted with utmost care. 
Being a Malayalee myself I was able to relate with the characters and events. Translator has done a great job. Words fail us while reviewing such exemplary books.
Reviewed for the publisher
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the author

Subhash Chandran was born in 1972 in Kadungalloor, Kerala. He was the only Malayalam writer to feature in The Times of India list of outstanding young Indian writers and India Today hailed him as one of the twenty young talents of Malayalam. He has won numerous prestigious awards including the Sahitya Akademi Award, Odakkuzhal Award and Vayalar literary prize.
He is best known for his novel Manushyanu Oru Amukham (A Preface to Man). It received great critical acclaim and remains one of the best-selling books in Malayalam. Four of his stories have been adapted into films. Based on the story ‘Vadhakramam’, The Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, produced a short film, which won a special jury mention at the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival. The Malayalam feature film Laptop is an adaptation of the short story ‘Parudeesa Nashtam’. His story ‘Sanmargam’ was filmed as A Knife in the Bar in Malayalam, while the story ‘Guptham’ was filmed as Akasmikam. His other major works include Kathakal: Subhash Chandran (complete story collection), Ghatikarangal Nilakkunna Samayam, Parudeesa Nashtam, Thalpam, Bloody Mary, Vihitham (short-story collection), Madhyeyingane, Kaanunnanerathu, and Das Capital (memoirs). He has also published eight books for children.

Fathima E.V. is a translator-writer based in Kannur. Apart from A Preface to Man, her translations include a forthcoming collection of short stories and memoirs of Malayalam writer Gracy. She has also translated contemporary Malayalam poetry, and translated and edited the English text for Kerala Folklore Academy’s tome on theyyams. She is currently engaged in a collaborative translation of Malayalam critical discourses and is also the editor of Indian Ink, the ‘little’ little magazine.


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