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A Red-necked Green Bird

 | Book Awards 2022 | Translated into English

A Red-necked Green Bird ()

Author: Dr. C.S. Lakshmi/ Ambai
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Translator: GJV Prasad
Original Language: Tamil

Award Category: Translated into English
About the Book: 

Myths and legends jostle with the contemporary in these stories where social issues of our times resonate with the inevitability of the past. The lyricism of Carnatic ragas permeate the pages of this quiet and powerful book in which love is rendered in all its immeasurable avatars—parental, carnal, platonic, romantic, divine. There is the woman who reinvents the notion of love in a unique way that amalgamates technology and spirituality through the internet; a man full of love who can sing Bulleh Shah and the woman who has lost her all in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots; the woman in the title story who stands by her deaf daughter but understands why her husband must leave the home they have built with love all these years; the man who finds out what it is to be a woman after a dip in the pond... These short stories are shorn of sentimentality but have a deep understanding of what it means to live, to love and to die. CS Lakshmi, writing under the pseudonym Ambai, has been a significant voice in Indian literature for the past four decades. A Red-necked Green Bird is the writer’s seventh collection of short stories.

About the Author: 

Dr CS Lakshmi has been an independent researcher in Women’s Studies for more than forty years. She has a Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She writes under the pseudonym Ambai in Tamil about love, relationships, quests and journeys and her short story collections have been published in Tamil and also translated into English. She is currently the Director of SPARROW (Sound & Picture Archives for Research on Women).


The loss of memory came slowly like dark clouds descending. Suddenly one day, he asked, ‘It is ten o’clock. Why hasn’t your mother returned yet? Why so long to buy vegetables?’Amma was hanging on the wall in front of him. He began to forget where he kept things. Keys, scissors, glasses, books, slippers…then he forgot whether he had brushed his teeth. That he had drunk coffee. That he had oiled his hair. That he had eaten. He lived in a different time. He remembered that his mother would crush the murukku to powder to eat after she lost her teeth.

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