Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar (ratheesh) wrote,
Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar
ratheesh

Sugandhi Enna Andal Devanayaki

Read TD Ramakrishnan's new novel, Sugandhi Enna Andal Devanayaki. It is written in a style similar to his earlier work, Francis Ittykkora - blending history, myths, folktales and the Present, creating a very interesting book that we would want to finish reading in one sitting. The history-fiction thread in the book follows the eventful life of the fictional character Devanayaki, who was the daughter of a trainer of martial arts at Kandalur during the tenth century. The other thread, set in present day, follows the attempt of a group of film-makers to make a feature around Dr Rajini Thiranagama, human rights activist who was murdered supposedly by the Tamil Tigers. It is interesting to see the author finding parallels and establishing linkages between the two time lines.

While there is no question about the readability of this novel, it shares some of the characteristics of the author's earlier work that hadn't appealed me. One point is the mixing of real historical characters with fictional characters and the extent of liberty taken in fabricating events associated with those real characters. For example, the pictures of the great Chozha kings, Rajaraja and Rajendra that come out of the story of Devanayaki would appear as something that can be called as derogatory, especially for readers who are used to novels like Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan (which apparently presents Rajaraja at one extreme, as an embodiment of justice, heroism and "moral values"). The second point is the author's tendency to portray almost all characters uniformly sharing very similar kind of stance as far as matters of flesh are concerned, which makes certain aspects in the story look repetitive and predictable. The very descriptive nature of "exploitation events" that are seen again and again in the novel didn't seem like adding any particular value to the narrative structure, and it made me feel like I was reading something that can be called as a "B Novel".
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