Kerala Tourism posts a list of five books on its Instagram handle to ‘trip at home’

The ubiquitous Chinese fishing nets

The ubiquitous Chinese fishing nets   | Photo Credit: K_K_Mustafah

‘The God of Small Things’ on Kerala Tourism’s list of books to read during the lock-down and journey to the shores of Kerala

Kerala Tourism has suggested, on its Instagram handle, five books to ‘journey to the shores of Kerala’— as part of what it calls ‘trip at home’— during the Covid-19 lock down — ‘The God of Small Things’ (Arundhati Roy), ‘Small Town Sea’ (Anees Salim), ‘Where the Rain is Born’ (ed. Anita Nair), ‘Ivory Throne: Chronicles of The House of Travancore’ (Manu Pillai) and the ‘Litanies of Dutch Battery’ (NS Madhavan).

Three of the books on the list - ‘The God of Small Things’, ‘Small Town Sea’ and ‘Litanies of Dutch Battery’ – take the reader to the heart of Kerala, exploring the personal and the political, gender and caste dynamics while providing a lush description of each place. Each is indeed a ‘trip at home’ for the reader. ‘Where the Rain is Born’ and ‘The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of The House of Travancore’ are for those who prefer non-fiction.

Boat moving along a canal at sunset in the Kerala backwaters

Boat moving along a canal at sunset in the Kerala backwaters  

‘The God of Small Things’ (1997)

Arundhati Roy’s Booker winning debut novel, based in Ayemenem, is the story of twins Estha and Rahel. It brings alive the politics – gender, caste, economics, social – of late 1960s Kerala. Though published 23 years ago, it is a perennial favourite.

‘The Small Town Sea’ (2017)

Anees Salim brings alive a small town, its people and its sea in this story of love, loss and coming to terms with it. Evocatively narrated, through a highly imaginative 13 year-old narrator/protagonist, it is humorous and heartbreaking.

‘Where the Rain is Born: Writings about Kerala’ (2002)

Edited by Anita Nair, it is a collection of writings – essays, fiction, verse, non-fiction – by writers as diverse Shashi Tharoor to Geeta Doctor to Vaikom Mohammed Basheer, M Mukundan, MT Vasudevan Nair, Kamala Das, Pankaj Mishra among them.

‘The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of The House of Travancore’ (2016)

The 700 page work by Manu Pillai, is an engagingly told history of the royal family of Travancore covering the key events in its history. Pillai proves, and has since proven, that history doesn’t have to be dry and boring.

‘Litanies of Dutch Battery’ (2010)

Originally written in Malayalam as ‘Lanthan Batheriyile Luthiniyakal’ (2003), NS Madhavan’s work is situated in the fictional Dutch Battery or Lanthan Bathery; said to be inspired by the islands in Kochi, around Bolghatty Palace. You get a glimpse into the lives of people on the islands, Chavittunatakam, and Kochi’s colonial history, all woven into an engaging, descriptive narrative.

(All are available on Kindle except ‘Litanies of Dutch Battery’, the original however is available)

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 3:02:31 PM |

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