I don’t know Tamil so I can’t tell what’s been lost in translation, but the magical thing about this anthology is that I never once thought of the stories as Tamil stories. In Pritham Chakravarthy’s translations, the characters in these stories live and breathe an English that smells like a neutral ether: neither elaborately English nor annoyingly vernacular.And it’s hard to convey the delight I felt in reading time-pass fiction where the starlets, the hard-boiled detectives and the vengeful goddesses came from the world I inhabited, were mine.
There are two reasons to buy this book. One, it’s a wonderful read and, two, it’s the best-produced paperback in the history of Indian publishing. From the luridly brilliant cover (complete with gun-toting, full-breasted Tamil rose) to the colour plates, the line drawings, the perfectly judged author introductions and the high-quality paper inside, this book is an object lesson in how publishing is done.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction
Whatever I do, I must not miss this pulp anthology of Tamil short stories. From Mukul Kesavan's Outlook India essay: