Ponni's Beloved - An English Translation Of Kalki Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan by Sumeetha Manikandan : Review
It is a dream of every Tamilian to read this masterpiece of Tamil literature at least once in their lifetime. The original narration, the description and plot in general have captivated millions of people, young and old alike. Revered by a whole generation of people, this book is a bench mark of sorts of a perfect historical fact based fiction. The very idea of translating such a magnificent work of fiction by itself is terrifying. To take up such a task and trying and retaining the essence of the story is simply herculean.
Having heard people rave about the visual imagery the book presented, I was curious if the writer could actually come up with a translation which could render the same effect. To my utter surprise, the writer has a done a rather commendable job of bringing about the visual imagery. The setting of the story could be visualized perfectly. The writer has also painstakingly written a glossary of about 170 words which were in Tamil. It is evident from this that the writer has retained much of the original phrases verbatim. Thankfully, the book is in the digital format, thus making it easier for the reader to switch between pages. This attention to detail for words is commendable.
The original story is famous for it's diverse subjects primarily focusing on politics and betrayal. Focusing on the story in this review is not possible as the book is a work of translation. Moreover, one has to savor this story instead of reading about it.
To settle into this story, one needs quite some time. Such is the story line as such. I had already attempted to read this very book's translated version by a different writer. I couldn't get past the initial few pages. The narration seemed too dry for my taste. It was almost the same case with this book too, but I was resolved to finish it off. One added advantage was that, I was already acquainted with this writer's style of writing. That made things a bit easier.
The mark of any good work of translation is to open up the story and culture of the original version to diverse readers. This book has achieved that goal to a major extent! Looking forward for the next edition.
One book ought not to be missed!