Poison Roots

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Author: Indira Parthasarathy
Publisher: Amaryllis, New Delhi
(Pp 238, ISBN 978-93-81506-44-8, Rs 295)

Poison Roots is the story of one Kesavan, a young Brahmin student, who is trying hard to define himself by his own thoughts and beliefs, not by those of his family and community. Critical of traditional religious practices, he scorns symbols of his high cast roots. To overcome the shackles of his conservative Brahmin background, he seeks intellectual interaction with learned elders. He even enters college politics which awakens in him an identity of rebellion as well as inquisitiveness only to realize no matter how much you try, you cannot move away from your roots, which clearly, are stronger than one may imagine.

Poison Roots is a translation of Indira Parthasarthy’s classic Tamil novel, Verpatru by Padma Narayanan who has also translated Parthsarthi’s other books. Translation of literary works is considered a literary pursuit in its own right and Padma Narayanan has done justice to the job.

The style is laced with an expression of superior word-craft, this novel has a universal taste of the process of growing up.

–GS Jolly

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