KAANAL NEER: Kannan Krisnan; Shantha Publishers, 13 (5), Sripuram 2nd Street, Royapettah, Chennai-600014. Rs. 140.
This novel is located in the contemporary historical context of the armed struggle for a separate state of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, a goal that turned out to be a mirage (kaanal neer). The author, who has at least seven novels to his credit, holds the suspense throughout, as he skilfully blends the real characters (retaining their names) with the fictitious ones.
The protagonist, Mathivanan, a well-trained militant, who fails in his assigned task of killing the Army chief, escapes to India fearing the wrath of his leader and stays with a newspaper editor in Chennai. He falls in love with a junior journalist working for the newspaper, Kalaiarasi, who volunteers to take up an assignment in Colombo, and he also goes along with her.
The two work for the intelligence service, and Kalaiarasi even acts as a ‘double agent' on her establishing contact with a Sinhala police officer. On the armed struggle ending in a tragedy, both return to India and get married, and Kalaiarasi continues to work for the newspaper. A retired intelligence service officer of India, the author has been able to provide authentic insights into the working of intelligence network in times of such conflicts.