Othappu is about a woman's yearning for a true understanding of spirituality and her own sexuality. The novel is a powerful indictment of the hypocrisy that plagues Christianity in many parts of the Subcontinent. Othappu unfolds at many levels to critique notions of class, caste, antiquity, and prestige that have, over time, eroded the power of the first church. The detailed Introduction by Jancy James provides rare insights into the work and skilfully sketches the social history of Kerala, the location of the novel. Two special inclusions--Paul Zacharia on the different meanings of 'othappu' and a dialogue between the author and Githa Hiranyan--lend fresh perspectives to the work.
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Sarah Joseph has been instrumental in founding the later twentieth-century women's movement in Kerala. An acclaimed short-story writer and novelist, her novels besides Othappu (2005), include Aalaahayude Penmakkal (1999), winner of the Central Sahitya Akademi Award and the Vayalar Award; Maatathi (2003), winner of the O. Chandumenon Award; and Oorukaaval (2008). Valson Thampu is a priest of the Church of North India and Principal, St Stephen's College, Delhi. A theologian, writer, and peace-activist, he has written extensively on spirituality and religion, politics, and socio-cultural issues.
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