This hardback omnibus edition collects three of M. T. Vasudevan Nair’s previously published works—Mist and The Soul of Darkness, Kaalam and Kuttiedathi and Other Stories. The volume features an introduction to M. T. Vasudevan Nair’s work by P. P. Raveendran, an eminent academic and a scholar of Malayalam literature.
Mist and The Soul of Darkness are translationsof M. T. Vasudevan Nair’s highly-acclaimed novellas, Manhu and Irutinde Atmavu. In the Mist, set at a hill-station resort, the author narrates the story of Vimala, a school teacher who continues to wait for her beloved Sudhir, with whom she once shared a passionate affair filled with promises. The Soul of Darkness, on the other hand speaks ofVelayudhan, a young man regarded by his family as ‘not normal’ and is thus treated abominably, tortured and beaten. Though his cousin Ammakutty really cares for him, she is helpless and cannot do much to save him. In both stories, Nair voices through mists of memories and emotions, some lost hopes and evocative experiences. The narratives are deeply touching, dramatic and realistic.
Set against the backdrop of a crumbling matrilineal tarawad system of the Nairs in Kerala with its manifold conflicts and problems, Kaalam is the story of Sethumadhavan Nair who starts out as an ambitious and confident adolescent -- but in his journey towards adulthood, where material and social success go hand in hand, he is faced with an overwhelming sense of disillusionment. In its revelations, the story is beautifully adorned with the emotional experiences of the protagonist, which is also reflective of MT’s own childhood in many ways.
Kuttiedathi and other stories is a collection of the finest stories of M. T. Vasudevan Nair that encompasses the ordinary middle class lives and sufferings of people in northern Kerala. Nair’s engaging style of storytelling is touching throughout. If the lead story ‘Kuttiedathi’ mixes tragic memory and domestic martyrdom, ‘When the Doors of Heaven Open’ plays out another life upon which centre a group of lives, all selfish, caring and indifferent by turns. In ‘Insight’ however, strange and unfathomable bonds of passion come up as the main theme. These are little tragedies of the soul told with a finesse characteristic of Nair’s profound, yet minimalist sense of expression.
Born in 1933 in the small village of Koodallur, Kerala, Madath Thekkepat Vasudevan Nair is the best known among his generation of storywriters in Malayalam. With a publishing career spanning a little more than fifty years, he is renowned as a chronicler of life in the matriarchal joint family of Kerala, a milieu he describes with intimacy in novels such as Nalukettu (1959) and Kaalam (1969). He won the State and Kendriya Sahitya Akademi awards respectively for these two novels. He is also among Kerala’s most popular script writers and directors of mainstream cinema. He has won four National Awards for his screenplays. The very first film he wrote, produced and directed, Nirmaalyam (The Floral Offering) won the President’s Gold Medal in 1973 and Kadavu (The Ferry) won the Japanese Grand Prix. He was also awarded the Jnanpith in 1996.
Introduction: MT and the Art of Artlessness
P. P. Raveendran
Mist & The Soul of Darkness
Foreword by V. Abdulla
The Soul of Darkness
Kuttiedathi and Other Stories
Foreword by Ayyappa Paniker
Once Again in Search of a Refuge
When the Doors of Heaven Open
Kadugannawa: A Travel Note