Review of A preface to man by Subhash Chandran

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Name         – A preface to man

Author                  -Subhash Chandran(author) Fathima E.V (translator)
Publisher              – Harper Collins
Number of Pages -464
Publishing Year   -2016
Edition                  -Paperback
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Rating : 5.0

Ann Marie reads fragments of her dead husband’s unfinished book,
and the many love letters he sent her, and in them the social and political
events of the time. As she ponders the writing and the years that the brilliant
Jithendran squandered working for a toy company that makes drum-playing monkeys,
the narrative gives way to the sweeping saga of a village by the river Periyar.
Grappling with issues of equality, love, caste, religion and politics,
Thachanakkara is a microcosm of twentieth-century Kerala. Told through the
history of three generations of a feudal Nair family, this sprawling story is
reminiscent of the craft of Gabriel García Márquez’s. A Hundred Years of
Solitude and has the scale of Sunil Gangopadhyay’s those Days. A Preface to Man
is an artistic meditation on human existence and is a contemporary classic.

My Review

A beautiful book. The narration is realistic. Author left me speechless once the book ended. While taking the readers through the lives of three generations, authors kept the backstory straight. The social cultural and political background of Kerala is depicted with utmost care. 
Being a Malayalee myself I was able to relate with the characters and events. Translator has done a great job. Words fail us while reviewing such exemplary books.
Reviewed for the publisher
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a
complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write
a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the author

Subhash Chandran was born in 1972 in Kadungalloor, Kerala. He was the
only Malayalam writer to feature in The Times of India list of outstanding
young Indian writers and India Today hailed him as one of the twenty young
talents of Malayalam. He has won numerous prestigious awards including the
Sahitya Akademi Award, Odakkuzhal Award and Vayalar literary prize.
He is best known for his novel Manushyanu Oru Amukham (A Preface
to Man). It received great critical acclaim and remains one of the best-selling
books in Malayalam. Four of his stories have been adapted into films. Based on
the story ‘Vadhakramam’, The Film and Television Institute of India, Pune,
produced a short film, which won a special jury mention at the Rio de Janeiro
Film Festival. The Malayalam feature film Laptop is an adaptation of the short
story ‘Parudeesa Nashtam’. His story ‘Sanmargam’ was filmed as A Knife in the
Bar in Malayalam, while the story ‘Guptham’ was filmed as Akasmikam. His other
major works include Kathakal: Subhash Chandran (complete story collection),
Ghatikarangal Nilakkunna Samayam, Parudeesa Nashtam, Thalpam, Bloody Mary,
Vihitham (short-story collection), Madhyeyingane, Kaanunnanerathu, and Das
Capital (memoirs). He has also published eight books for children.

Fathima E.V. is a translator-writer based in Kannur. Apart from A
Preface to Man, her translations include a forthcoming collection of short
stories and memoirs of Malayalam writer Gracy. She has also translated
contemporary Malayalam poetry, and translated and edited the English text for
Kerala Folklore Academy’s tome on theyyams. She is currently engaged in a
collaborative translation of Malayalam critical discourses and is also the
editor of Indian Ink, the ‘little’ little magazine.
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