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February 20, 2013 / subramanyam

Kesavan’s Lamentations :: My take

            As a person interested in politics and the political setup of India it is only natural that I love reading books on politics. Much of the stuff written on/about politics is non-fiction and is written by eminent politicians or historians . However, political fiction is also fantastic to read.  Jefferey Archer’s “First among equals” is the best book when it comes to political fiction for me.

          The other day I was just typing political fiction in Flipkart and was searching for books and then this book, Kesavan’s lamentations came up. I was just curios on what it would be, read the intro of the book written over there and ordered it. Kesavans_Lamenatations

          This book set up in the steamy political backdrop of Kerala and has the “EMS” the great socialist-marxist-theorist and the first communist chief minister of an Indian state as the central theme of the book. One of the most fascinating things about this novel is that there are two stories within the novel and the author transports us back and forth across the stories as we progress with the book. When I say two stories it does not mean two parallel stories running,the twist in the tale is that the protagonist (Kesavan) is a writer himself and this book is about the troubles and travails he undergoes while writing  a novel with the contemporary Kerala politics in the backdrop. So we travel back and forth between Kesavan and Appukuttan (the protagonist in Kesavan’s book) as we read the book .

          The plot is somewhat like this, Kesavan an established author in Kerala, wishes to write a novel about a boy who falls in love with the communist ideology very early in his life.  He creates and names the character as Appu Kuttan.  How Appu adores EMS from childhood and how this turns out into in to a hero worship as Appu grows into a young boy form is something you ought to read from the book.

          As Appu Kuttan grows up, the troubles and travails of Kesavan also grow. The demands from home and family, the demands from the friends that he should be showing the work to them , demands from the left and right groups about the content of the novel etc..

          M.Mukundan,  the author of the book  has done a very good job when it comes to depiction of the characters, I really loved the way the way the characters evolved and the way the plot gets developed. I only wish to differ on the Hindu extremism part of it due to my personal biases and convictions. I was like why should the author touch this topic in the book, nevertheless I am not really aware of the ground realities of Kerala and the reasons that prompted the author to do so. I would have really been very very happy had the book had some other ending.

          Nevertheless, Kesavan’s Lamentations is definitely worth a read, it is real good and something different. You would really see and appreciate a good level of maturity in terms of writing, in terms of plot and in terms of characterization Definitely worth a read…

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