Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why bother?

Why do I write about Tamil literature in English? It sounds pointless to review a Tamil novel in English, when there aren't translations available.

One reason is I assume that a majority of my blog readers(whose numbers must be in early teens if I am right) are English speaking Tamils, who have hardly read anything in Tamil other than the mass magazines. If I am able to get atleast a few of them interested in Tamil contemporary literature (NOT Ponniyin Selvan, Thank You), I feel that I have achieved my objective.

However reviewing a Tamil novel in English is difficult. It is like trying to explain Madras summers to some one in Arctic. I find that my reviews of Tamil novels are hardly more than cliches strung together. Well known Tamil critic Venkat Swaminathan used to write English reviews of Tamil novels in Delhi based literary magazine Thought in 1960s and 70s. At that time his review was awaited eagerly by Tamil writers of that era as he was ruthless in his views. I wonder if any collection of those reviews are available.

Even among Tamil bloggers, blogs dedicated to book reviews are very few. Suresh Kannan's blog is one of my regular haunts, but he writes more about movies than books. One of my latest finds is this blogger who reviews contemporary Tamil literature extensively. If you are interested in contemporary Tamil literature, you should subscribe to her RSS feeds.

6 comments:

the blue lawn said...

HI Chenthil

I am regular reader of your blog.Discovered Adhavan,JeyaMohan through your recommendations. Please continue the good work.

Thanks
-TBL

Krishnan said...

Hi Chenthil, been following Lekha's blog for a long time and undoubtedly, it is a treasure trove of information on modern Tamil literature.

Krishnan said...

And I heartily recommend

http://azhiyasudargal.blogspot.com/

http://baski-reviews.blogspot.com/

ICANAVENUE said...

Thank you Chenthil. It's very useful

Chenthil said...

TBL - Thanks. I will continue writing about Tamil books, just that some times I wonder if it does make sense.

Krishnan - will check those blogs you mentioned.

ICA - thanks for the support.

Baraka said...

Hi Chenthil,

I got introduced to the name 'Jeyamohan', and many other tamil writers' names through your blog.Before that, tamil literature, to me, started & ended with 'sujatha'.

one could never cognize & sensemake the influence one's words would have on others.. so, please keep writing.


p.s -
here is a post i wrote long back about jeyamohan's 'kaadu'.

http://themonkeymeditates.blogspot.com/2008/05/student-asked-zen-master-master-when.html