Though not a prolific writer, Prabhakaran has earned a place for himself because of his significant contribution to what is dubiously labelled the ‘post-modernist' Malayalam literature. A writer with a clear concept of the craft, he can handle with ease a wide variety of literary forms — short story, novel, drama, and screenplay.

At one stage, however, it looked as if novelette was Prabhakaran's favourite genre. In the preface to this collection of five of his novelettes (published before 1998), he says he intended to develop one of them into a novel. But he abandoned the idea because of some misgivings and impediments.

The novelettes cover diverse themes such as the hunt for a house site, settlers' struggle to establish themselves in a new environment, and the young generation's ceaseless endeavour to secure its due place and recognition in the evolving society.

There is an interesting allegorical story on human condition and behaviour, told through animal characters and presented as a children's tale.

The author varies his technique from story to story. Although this makes for uneven reading, he manages to hold the reader's attention.

N. PRABHAKARANTE NOVELLAKAL: N. Prabhakaran; DC Books, DC Kizhakemuri Edam, Good Shepherd Street, Kottayam-686001. Rs. 110.

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