In the 1940s, Guy De Maupassant was a rage.
Pudumaipithan, considered the Bhishma of Tamil short-story writing, modelled his style on the French writer.
In the 1980s, Tamil writers came under the spell of magic realism after Gabriel Garcia Marquez won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982. N. Sukumaran was one of the budding writers who came under its incurable influence then.
Thirty years later, he has rendered into Tamil, ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, the Colombian author’s masterpiece.
“I was 28 when I first read the novel. Though I could not fully understand it as I was not well-versed in English, it cast a spell on me. I decided to translate it then. I have realised the desire now,” said N. Sukumaran, a poet and writer, who has translated the book for Kalachuvadu publishers.
The translation is titled ‘Thanimyin Nooru Andugal’.
The novel has already been published in Malayalam and Hindi. Tamil is the third Indian language in which the novel is being published with the consent of the original publishers.
Mr. Sukumaran said the problem he faced as a translator was the language of the novel.
“I was told Marquez has written it in a style that is quite difficult. The English translation is also not very easy. I have translated the novel in my own style while retaining the lively narrative style of Marquez,” said 55-year-old Sukumaran, whose mother tongue is Malayalam.
He was born and brought up in Tamil Nadu and learnt Malayalam only when he was 17. He can write in both the languages and brings to Tamil the trends in Malayalam literature.
Mr. Sukumaran said, in many ways, the novel, capturing seven generations, resembled the grandma tales of our country, and he had kept in mind Tamil readers while working on the translation.
“Whatever I read, I understand it in Tamil. So it is not difficult for me to translate. I have read the novel many times in the past. But while translating it, I could not enjoy the privilege of being a reader who can skip and read at random. I have to meticulously go through each and every word of the novel,” said Mr. Sukumaran, who took a year to complete the translation.
His earlier translations include Silk, by Italian writer Alessandro Baricco, and The Aziz Bey Incident by Ayfer Tunc.
This story has been edited to correct a reference to Gabriel Garcia Marquez as a "Spanish author." Though Marquez writes in Spanish, he is, in fact, from Colombia