Thakazi Sivasankara Pillai

Translated by Anita Nair



5 x 8 inches, 264pp. December 2016

ISBN : 9780857423917

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Chemmeen tells the story of the relationship between Karutthamma, a Hindu woman from the fisherfolk community, and Pareekkutty, the son of a Muslim fish wholesaler. Unable to marry Pareekkutty for religious reasons, Karutthamma instead marries Palani, who, despite his wife’s scandalous past, never stops trusting her—a trust that is reaffirmed each time he goes to sea and comes back safe. For the fishermen have an important saying: the safe return of a fisherman depends on the fidelity of his wife. Then, one fateful night, Karutthamma and Pareekkutty meet and their love is rekindled while Palani is at sea, baiting a shark.


Previously available only in India, this hugely successful novel was adapted into a film, winning great critical acclaim and commercial success. Anita Nair’s evocative translation from Malayalam brings this tale of love and longing, a classic of Indian literature, to a new audience.

Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai was a Malayali writer of several novels and over 600 short stories, whose work focused on the oppressed classes. His best-known works include Chemmeen (1956) and Kayar (1978). He won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1958 and the Jnanpeeth Award in 1984.


Anita Nair is the author of The Better Man (1999), Ladies Coupé (2001), Mistress (2005) and Lessons in Forgetting (2012). Her books have been translated into 30 languages all over the world.

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