"Writing the book was in itself an intense experience. I remember locking myself in my room and concentrating only on my novel. So, re-visiting it, I thought, would be too intense an experience," says Author Rizio Yohannan Raj about her book, A Tale of Things Timeless

Rizio Yohannan Raj transferred the task of translating her Malayalam novel Avinasom to Supriya M. Nair. “Writing the book was in itself an intense experience. I remember locking myself in my room and concentrating only on my novel. So, re-visiting it, I thought, would be too intense an experience,” says Rizio. The English version A Tale of Things Timeless retains the essence of the original and takes readers through a journey of life, death, discovery and words, even.

In A Tale of Things Timeless young journalist Laya Thomas hears of small time writer Avinash Suvarna’s suicide. What begins as curiosity develops into a quest for Laya to explore the elusive writer’s life. In the process of peeling away the layers of Avinash’s life and dreams, Laya discovers herself. The inspiration for the novel came from Rizio herself chancing upon a suicide note left by an aspiring Malayali author, T.P. Kishor. “I had read about Kishor’s suicide in an obit when I was working as a night editor in a newspaper. But only when I read the suicide note that said ‘with the surety of what lies beyond death’ did I understand all that really mattered.”

Although Avinash is not T.P. Kishor, he resembles Kishor’s “restless spirit” which is the story of many struggling writers.

At the end of the book there is an in-depth conversation on the art of translations and the importance of communication between Rizio and Tamil writer Ambai.

Contribution and curiosity

Rizio, a bilingual writer (English and Malayalam) and translator has straddled the worlds of journalism and publishing. She contends that in journalism, a distinction ought to be made between “contribution and curiosity.”

Young journalists must be encouraged to hone their spirit of enquiry, instead of just sending them to the field to report on particular events.

Rizio, whose creativity is boundless, has found a lot of satisfaction in academics. Her pioneering work Quest of A Discipline: New Academic Directions for Comparative Literature was published to critical acclaim.

A Tale of Things Timeless is a HarperCollins publication and is priced at Rs. 299.