K. KUNHIKRISHNAN

NEELIMAYERIYA KANNUKAL:Translation of Toni Morrison's ‘The Bluest Eyes' by Ajay Sekhar; DC Books, DC Kizhakemuri Edam, Good Shepherd Street, Kottayam-686001. Rs. 95.

THE CENTRAL theme of Toni Morrison's novels is the experience of Black American women. Her characters struggle for critical identity, while the power of her vision and poetic style bring out an essential aspect of reality. Her debut novel, The Bluest Eyes(1970), focusses on the negative impactthe white's conception of beauty has on a lonely black girl, who attempts to find a positive sense of individuality in a loveless family. Set in the author's home town of Lorain, Ohio, the novel narrates the tragedy of Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl who, conscious of her ugliness, longs for blue eyes, the White's symbol of beauty. Her obsession with love is compulsive. She becomes insane, thanks to the brutality of having to bear the child of her father's incest.

The ugly face of racism; the loss of innocence and its consequences; and the allusion to a culture defining ‘beauty' and ‘ ugliness' — all these and more are sharply brought out in the story. If the narrative style and chapter headings are suggestive, the structure of the plot, the images, the characters, and the dialogue combine to make a powerful impact on the reader.

As for the translation, one has to say the power of the original is lacking. Liberal use of central Travancore slang has contributed not a little to this shortcoming.