Ammu, Estha, Rahel, Velutha, Baby Kochamma, Father Mulligan, Comrade Pillai, Sophie Mol and Ayemenum’s other characters in Arundhati Roy’s Booker prize-winning novel will start conversing in Tamil with the Tamil translation of God of Small Things. The work is slated for release on July 28.
The Tamil version, titled Chinna Visaiyangalin Kadavul, has been done by G. Kuppuswamy, an emerging translator of fiction in Tamil, and ‘Kalachuvadu’ is publishing the book.
“I read the novel in 1998 and immediately fell in love with the language of Arundathi Roy, telling a melancholic story, but in a hilarious manner. Between 1998 and 2004, I would have read the novel about 30 times and I never once thought of translating it in Tamil. It is incidental,” explains 49-year old Kuppuswamy, an inspector in the local fund audit department of the Tamil Nadu government.
Mr. Kuppuswamy had earlier translated the articles of Ms. Roy and started translating the novel in 2004 for a Tamil publisher. Though he completed his translation in 2005, the book did not see the light of day and the manuscript was gathering dust.
When Ms. Roy visited Chennai in January this year in connection with the release of translation of her essay ‘Broken Republic’, Kalachuvadu editor Kannan obtained permission from her to release the Tamil version of the work of fiction.
Mr. Kuppuswamy says while translation was a difficult task, he was fully familiar with the style and tone of the author by the time he was asked to translate God of Small Things.
“The author and her style became very familiar and it took 18 months for me to complete the work. I feel I have succeeded in bringing out the originality of the novel to the maximum only by translating this work, even though I have translated other novels and short stories. I may not to outdo myself in translation of other works in future,” says Mr. Kuppuswamy, who has also rendered, in Tamil, Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk’s My name is Red, another Booker winning novel The Sea by Irish author John Banville and a collection of English short stories.
Mr. Kannan hoped the Tamil version would do well in the market, going by the sales of the ‘Broken Republic’ in the language.