by Ki. Rajanarayanan; translated from the Tamil by Pritham K. Chakravarthy
Ki. Rajanarayanan spent three quarters of a century collecting the weirdest and wildest tales of the karisal mannu, the black-soil region around Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu.
This book contains a gallery of jealous husbands and conniving goddesses, pious sparrows and randy mice, jewel-crazy girl ghosts and angry star demons, as well as a chapter of "naughty & dirty" folktales!
Includes 8 illustrations by Trotsky Marudu.
"This delightful collection fully lives up to—enhances—Blaft’s young but confident standing." —Vijay Nambisan in the Deccan Herald
Ki. Rajanarayanan (1922-2021), popularly known as Ki. Ra., was a powerful writer and teller of tales rooted in the soil of Tamil Nadu. His 1958 short story Mayamaan is often seen as marking the beginning of the Golden Age of modern Tamil literature. Veering away from the European influences which characterised much of the fiction from the Tamil revivalist period, Ki. Ra. chose to relate tales in the spoken dialect of the land in which he was born.
In his lifetime he was referred to as the "Guardian of Oral Tamil Tradition", and was a recipient of the prestigious Kalaimamani and Sahitya Akademi awards. He remained active well into his old age, even editing a new literary magazine at the age of 97. He died in 2021 and was cremated with state honours at his native village of Idaiseval.