The anguish of yesterdays, the emptiness of today and the futility of tomorrows – did she glimpse them all, in that moment?
A Path and Many Shadows is a Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award winning novel by Rajelakshmy. It is the story of a girl growing up in southern India in the 1950s and how she blossoms as an individual. We are shown the formative years of Mani, who encounters a society that is deeply patriarchal. We read about her choices and mistakes, her desires and failings, and the ultimate realisation that liberation lies in pursuing what one’s heart desires, come what may.
Rajelakshmy, one of Kerala’s prominent writers, committed suicide in 1965. And now, fifty years later, R. K. Jayasree resurrects her fictional world in the English language. The themes dealt with here – questioning faith, battling oppression, facing desire, choosing death – continue to speak to the world today.
This book, which includes twelve short stories, contains a critical introduction that shows how Rajelakshmy’s fiction lays bare the working of the writer’s mind. It will interest students of literature, gender studies and translation, and the general reader interested in fiction.