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Dattapaharam

Dattapaharam

Call of the Forest

V.J. James
,
Ministhy S.
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‘I could hear wild animals, as hungry as I was, growling down below, having caught my human smell. They attempted to scale the rocks. If there was one among them that could climb the cliff, my helplessness would turn me into its dinner tonight.’

On the eve of Independence Day, Mahesh reads a small news item about a mysterious forest dweller who appeared in the middle of a rainforest out of nowhere and disappeared without a clue. Immediately, he recognizes the man to be Freddie Robert, their friend, guide, leader and the one they had all named Yudhisthira, who had disappeared into the forest several months ago, in search of a rare new bird. Mahesh and his four friends, each named after a Pandava brother, and Panchali, or Meera, decide that the only way they can ascertain whether the man was indeed Freddie is to return to the forest and search for him.

Thus begins Dattapaharam, a powerhouse of a novel by the critically acclaimed and bestselling Malayalam author V.J. James. A rumination on solitude, man’s connection with nature and the strings that attach us to this world, this is a surreal novel where the author’s imagination soars like an eagle and words flow like the untouched springs in a rainforest. At times a fable on the modern world, at times a search for identity amid a quest of discovery, and on the whole a moving tale that takes the reader deep into the forests to understand what really makes us human, Dattapaharam is a powerful novel for our anthropocentric age, written by one of the most exciting voices to emerge from the Indian subcontinent.

Imprint: Vintage Books

Published: Feb/2023

ISBN: 9780670096565

Length : 288 Pages

MRP : ₹599.00

Dattapaharam

Call of the Forest

V.J. James
,
Ministhy S.

‘I could hear wild animals, as hungry as I was, growling down below, having caught my human smell. They attempted to scale the rocks. If there was one among them that could climb the cliff, my helplessness would turn me into its dinner tonight.’

On the eve of Independence Day, Mahesh reads a small news item about a mysterious forest dweller who appeared in the middle of a rainforest out of nowhere and disappeared without a clue. Immediately, he recognizes the man to be Freddie Robert, their friend, guide, leader and the one they had all named Yudhisthira, who had disappeared into the forest several months ago, in search of a rare new bird. Mahesh and his four friends, each named after a Pandava brother, and Panchali, or Meera, decide that the only way they can ascertain whether the man was indeed Freddie is to return to the forest and search for him.

Thus begins Dattapaharam, a powerhouse of a novel by the critically acclaimed and bestselling Malayalam author V.J. James. A rumination on solitude, man’s connection with nature and the strings that attach us to this world, this is a surreal novel where the author’s imagination soars like an eagle and words flow like the untouched springs in a rainforest. At times a fable on the modern world, at times a search for identity amid a quest of discovery, and on the whole a moving tale that takes the reader deep into the forests to understand what really makes us human, Dattapaharam is a powerful novel for our anthropocentric age, written by one of the most exciting voices to emerge from the Indian subcontinent.

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V.J. James

V.J. James writes in Malayalam. Born and brought up in Changanacherry, Kerala, he currently resides in Thiruvananthapuram. An engineer by profession, he worked at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. His debut novel,
Purappadinte Pusthakam (The Book of Exodus), was awarded the DC Silver Jubilee Award (1999), Malayattoor Prize and Rotary Literary Award.
Other awards include the O.V. Vijayan Award and Thikkurissi Award for Anti-Clock, and the Thoppil Ravi Award, Kerala Bhasha Institute
Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Basheer Puraskaram and Vayalar Award for Nireeswaran. The English translation of Chorashasthram was
shortlisted for the Atta Galatta Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize.
The Malayalam film Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, starring Mohanlal
and Meena, is an adaptation of his short story 'Pranayopanishath'. Along
with six short story collections, his major works include Purappadinte Pusthakam (1999), Chorashasthram (2002), Dathapaharam (2005), Leyka (2006), Ottakkaalan Kakka (2013), Nireeswaran (2014) and Anti-Clock
(2018). The English translation of Anti-Clock was shortlisted for the JCB
Prize for Literature 2021.

Ministhy S.

Ministhy S. is an IAS officer working in the Uttar Pradesh cadre. She translates between three languages: English, Malayalam and Hindi. Her translation of The Poison of Love by Malayalam novelist K.R. Meera was longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 and The Unseeing Idol of Light by the same author was shortlisted for the
Crossword Book Jury Awards in 2018. Her translation of Anti-Clock was shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature 2021. She has further translated Sundar Kanda and Kishkindha Kanda from Awadhi into English, and the
poetry collections My Home, After Me by Agneya from the Hindi and The
Heaviness of the Rain
by Veerankutty from the Malayalam.

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