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Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Catherine Thankamma
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780198079885
The first novel by the first tribal novelist of South India, Kocharethi maps the story of the Malayarayar tribe in Kerala. Melding history with culture, the work portrays their many struggles: from possession and dispossession of land to the challenges of preserving myths, rituals, social customs, and belief systems.
Narayan, who wondered if leaves cried out when they fell to the ground, follows an adivasi couple through their childhood, youth, old age, illness, and death to present a vivid account of their elemental life. Drawing deeply from oral traditions to underscore the earthy tensions of an adivasi society, Narayan evokes Nature and the Great Spirits, unfolds the Malayarayars’ changing perceptions of land and its ownership, and documents a way of life that is slowly fading into history.
In Catherine Thankamma’s hands the translation retains the flavour and verve of the Malayalam original. The Introduction by G.S. Jayasree sets the context for the work and the in-depth interview with Narayan conducted by the translator helps chronicle the many changes that have taken place in the Malayarayar way of life. Accompanying illustrations bring to life the story of a community unheard of outside Kerala.
‘Kocharethi, one of the first tribal novels, is a remarkable work and should be translated into other Indian languages.’
--- Mahasveta Devi
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR:
Catherine Thankamma (tr) is a translator, writer, and critic. She teaches English language in the R.L.V. College of Music and Fine Arts, Cochin.
An Interview with Narayan