WINNER OF THE JCB PRIZE FOR LITERATURE 2021
‘A gorgeous portrait of the lives of Malayali migrants in New Delhi during a turbulent period of India’s history. Simultaneously nostalgic and unflinching, evocative and savage, Delhi: A Soliloquy does the impossible, and makes me want to visit New Delhi again. Mukundan is a writer of immense power and refinement.’ —Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger
It is the 1960s. Delhi is a city of refugees and dire poverty. The Malayali community is just beginning to lay down roots, and the government offices at Central Secretariat, as well as hospitals across the city, are infused with Malayali-ness.
This is the Delhi young Sahadevan makes his home, with the help of Shreedharanunni, committed trade union leader and lover of all things Chinese. His wife Devi and their children Vidya and Sathyanathan adopt Sahadevan as their own, and he soon falls into a comfortable rhythm: work, home and long walks across the city, in constant conversation with himself. One day, these meanderings will find their way into a novel, or so he dreams.
Then, unexpectedly, China declares war on India. In a moment, all is split asunder, including Shreedharanunni’s family. Their battle to survive is mirrored in the lives of many others: firebrand journalist Kunhikrishnan and his wife Lalitha; maverick artist Vasu; call girl and inveterate romantic Rosily; JNU student and activist Janakikutty. As India tumbles from one crisis to another—the Indo-Pak War, the refugee influx of the 1970s, the Emergency and its excesses, the riots of 1984—Sahadevan is everywhere, walking, soliloquising and aching to capture it all, the heartbreaks and the happiness.
Hailed as a contemporary classic in Malayalam, this is a masterful novel about ordinary people whose lives and stories have leached into the very soil and memories of Delhi.
|Delhi : A Soliloquy
|2023-01-01 00:00:00 +0530