Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Southern Harvest

A Southern Harvest is a collection of sixteen brilliant and evocative stories from contemporary short fiction in Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. The stories, by writers both new and established have been translated into English especially for this volume. The collection is edited by Githa Hariharan, winner of the 1993 Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Best First Book. The language sections are introduced by eminent literary figures in that language.

Indian Review of Books

This is a collection of short stories translated into English from the four southern languages – Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Telegu. Each language section has four stories, duly introduced by an eminent author/critic of that language situating the short story narrative in the overall context of fiction in that language, as well as siting the chosen stories within that context. It must be mentioned that all the stories selected have been translated for the first time for this edition for Katha Regional Fiction ...

What it has presented is an extremely rich crop of writers who would remain mainly unknown, but for such efforts, to the English reading/speaking public.

What do you say about stories that make you sit up, that wrench your guts and tug at your hearts? The recurrent images of “poverty, pauperisation, dispossession and powerlessness” weave a common strand through the various narratives irrespective of the language … “The Desolation Within” (Telugu) … is a wonderful, touching story which never degenerates into pathos.

… these are not bed-time stories … each disturbing tale shakes you out of your slumber and makes you think.

This book is also special in that the translation policy is explained: if you feel that the stories are uniformly good – the keyword is “uniform!” For the different languages, with their various regional dialects and registers are all compacted into standardised English ... the final product(s) are very readable and have provided us access to literatures which we would have remained ignorant of otherwise.

– N Kamal

Business Standard
(May 1994)

This anthology from Katha is an eye-opener to the literary trends in the south ...

What comes as a bonus to readers is the short but comprehensive introduction that precedes each language section. Writers like Ayyappa Panicker have sketched out a helpful guide to the literary scene in their language … in spite of not being selected on any premeditated themes, the stories seem to have arranged themselves in a strikingly discernible pattern. The images that recur are those of poverty, pauperisation, dispossession and powerlessness ...

As always, this collection from Katha too showcases the best of regional talents.

– Purabi Panwar

World Literature Today

The sixteen short stories which comprise A Southern Harvest are in groups of four from each of the major South Indian languages – Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, and Telugu – and have been translated into English for the first time for this publication. Each cluster of stories is introduced by an Indian critic who specializes in that particular language. The stories are largely from the past decade and represent a mix of established and new writers ...

Renewal is the keyword here, for despite the problems of translation and the fact that thirteen different translators were involved in rendering these stories into English, there is a consistency of readability and level of diction which makes this diverse volume a pleasant unity. Rather than allowing the problematic aspects of translating idiomatic flavours to overcome the project, the translators, by accident of design, have settled on a sense of homogeneity, which is the best compromise possible, given the multifariousness of the material ...

Hariharan’s small volume illustrates that short fiction in South India is in a healthy state.

Indian Express
(July 10, 1994)

All sixteen of the stories here … are appearing in English for the first time and they have the freshness of a bundle of newly harvested paddy. They carry the reassurance that in the literary fields of these four states, the rain god has been kind and has filled the grains of fiction. If there have been years of drought, it has left no lasting disillusionment ...

… there is reason for optimism. As Kethu Viswanatha Reddy points out in his preface to the Telugu section, three thousand short stories in Telugu appear every year in various periodicals. Two-thirds of these are pulp. The rest remain unavailable in translation. If we can bring this valuable one-thirds into a catchment area of what, for want of a better expression, one may call mainstream Indian literature – how much richer it would be.

And if we were to do the same with all the rivers and streams from our different language traditions, think of the new words, experiences and ways of seeing that would flow in. This book is valuable because in its own modest way, it attempts just that.

– Pamela Phillipose

The Authors

Ayyappa Panicker
Paul Zacharia
C V Sreeraman
Sa Kandasamy
Thopil Mohamed Meeran
Dilip Kumar
P Lankesh
Jayant Kaikini
Mogalli Ganesh
Kethu Viswanatha Reddy
Abburi Chaya Devi
Allam Rajaiah

The Translators

Ajithan G Kurup
B Chandrika
Usha Nambudripad
S Krishnan
Vasantha Surya
N Kalyan Raman
Ramachandra Sharma
K Raghavendra Rao
Padma Ramachandra Sharma
Vijaya Ghose
E Nageswara Rao
Vasantha Kannabiran
K Balagopal

Edited by
Githa Hariharan

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Neeraj and Pallavi Sahai
Category: Katha Regional Fiction
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 192 pages
ISBN 81-85586-11-X [HB]
ISBN 81-85586-10-1
Price: Rs 120 [PB] [India and the subcontinent only]

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