Cat in the Agraharam and Other Stories
by Dilip Kumar
Pub Date 15 Mar 2020
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The volume is introduced by its award-winning translator, Martha Ann Selby, who worked closely with the author. The universal appeal of these stories is rooted in their utterly truthful local specificity as they explore complex themes of abduction and restoration, humiliation and despair, and related issues of identity and wholeness. Known by Tamil readers for his description and detail, Dilip Kumar also writes with humor and a deep compassion for his characters, highlighting their strengths in the face of degradation and strife. His perspective and insight build on his own status as a northerner in this southern setting for whom Tamil is a second language—much like his characters.
A Note From the Publisher
“These stories carry you sweetly into intimate feelings and dialogues about death, love, sickness, frailty, longing, failure, hunger, poverty, community, and family in a worn-down neighborhood of Chennai . . . Only astutely observant family members could create the subtle, caring relationships that emerge between readers and the humane narrators who live in this book thanks to the poignant Tamil prose of Dilip Kumar and loving translations by his friend and co-storyteller, Martha Ann Selby.” —David Ludden, author of Peasant History in South India
“This book is one of the finest available translations of contemporary Tamil literature. The narratives in this volume capture Dilip Kumar’s unique formations of twentieth- and twenty-first century Tamil realism inflected by autobiographical experience, and are some of the most striking Tamil short stories of our time. Martha Selby brings these literary and cultural complexities alive for English-speaking audiences through her own unique, deeply intimate style of translation.” —Davesh Soneji, author of Unfinished Gestures: Devadasis, Memory, and Modernity in South India