Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review : Nerkunjam By Thenmozhi

Thenmozhi is a poet and a writer of fiction. Nerkunjam
(Grain Bunch) is her first collection of stories. In
2008, a poetry collection of hers, Thuravi Nandu
(Hermit Crab) was published. Thenmozhi means honeyed language.
Thenmozhi’s style of writing certainly contains the poetic honey
of the language but the subjects she chooses to write about and
the way she tells her stories have nothing to do with the sweetness
of honey. The stories talk about lives of women and men caught in
the contradictions of everyday life and the irony of existence.
Thenmozhi says in her preface that her stories come out like
mushrooms in the rainy season; during uncertain moments in the
overflow of life. Beginning with the first story which is a monologue
of a dead woman surrounded by wailing relatives, talking to her
lover with the unusual title Kadarkol which means land getting
submerged under the sea and the second story of a farm labourer
who decides to protest against sexual harassment, again with the
deceptive poetic title Nilakudai which means mushroom, used here
as a metaphor for people who are like poisonous mushrooms and
fast spreading fungus in the society, the stage is set for eight other
very deftly narrated stories. The titles of all the stories are abstract
while the stories themselves talk of the brutal reality of life with
controlled emotion and no sentimentality. Thenmozhi has managed
to combine a heady, intoxicating style of writing with the hard
truths of life. The result is a set of ten stories that carry several
layers of meaning.

— C S Lakshmi ( Ambai )
Courtesy: Sparrow Newsletter September 2011

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