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Kocharethi : The Araya Woman

Narayan. Translated by Catherine Thankamma

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ISBN 10: 0198070470 / ISBN 13: 9780198070474
Published by Oxford University Press, 2011
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The first novel by the first tribal novelist of South India Kocharethi maps the story of the Malayarayar tribe in Kerala Melding history with culture the work portrays their many struggles from possession and dispossession of land to the challenges of preserving myths rituals social customs and belief systems Narayan who wondered if leaves cried out when they fell to the ground follows an Adivasi couple through their childhood youth old age illness and death to present a vivid account of their elemental life Drawing deeply from oral traditions to underscore the earthy tensions of an Adivasi society Narayan evokes Nature and the Great Spirits unfolds the Malayarayar?s changing perceptions of land and its ownership and documents a way of life that is slowly fading into history In Catherine Thankamma?s hands the translation retains the flavour and verve of the Malayalam original The Introduction by GS Jayasree sets the context for the work and the in-depth interview with Narayan conducted by the translator helps chronicle the many changes that have taken place in the Malayarayar way of life Accompanying illustrations bring to life the story of a community unheard of outside Kerala. Bookseller Inventory # 91132

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Kocharethi : The Araya Woman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication Date: 2011

About this title


Set in the 1930s, the novel revolves around the Mala Arayars, a tribe in the hilly terrains of mid-eastern Kerala. Capturing their suffering, anguish, love, desire, aspiration, and frustration, Kocharethi depicts their move towards citizenship in independent India, the changing perceptions of land and its ownership, and their longing for an elemental life.
While the first half of the novel focuses on belief systems, rituals, and various social codes, the second half recounts moments of despair and personal loss. Together they create an identity for the Mala Arayars, and present a life-system that is slowly fading away.
Translated by Catherine Thankamma, this volume includes a detailed Introduction by G.S. Jayasree. An in-depth interview of Narayan adds value to the book. Thirty-four illustrations bring to life the story of a community that has remained largely unheard outside Kerala. With explanatory notes providing cultural connotations of certain Malayalam terms and a glossary, this edition will appeal to a wide spectrum of readers.

About the Author:

Narayan (A), recipient of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, has published five novels and two collections of short stories. Kocharethi is his first novel.
Catherine Thankamma (T) is a translator, writer, and critic. She teaches English language in R.L.V. College of Music and Fine Arts, Cochin.
G.S. Jayasree (I) is Director, Centre for Women's Studies and Reader, Institute of English, University of Kerala.

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