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Parthiban’s Dream

Longlisted | Book Awards 2022 | Translated into English

Parthiban’s Dream (Parthiban Kanavu)

Parthiban Kanavu (Parthiban’s Dream) was a novel Kalki R. Krishnamurthy penned as a weekly serial beginning 1941 in Kalki, the magazine that he had founded. Written in simple and elegant prose, Parthiban Kanavu is a breezy fictional historical romance in which good triumphs over evil and the lovers overcome obstacles posed by dynastic affiliations, intrigue and separation to be united in matrimony. The novel was an instant hit and was made into a Tamil film starring Gemini Ganesan, Vyjayanthimala and S.V. Ranga Rao in 1960. Parthiban Kanavu is an important milestone in Kalki’s illustrious literary career. It offered tantalizing perspectives of his literary style and what would be his more critically acclaimed works that followed. Vivid descriptions of nature, flora and fauna formed memorable backdrops against which Kalki’s gripping plots unfolded. While the stories he told were timeless ones of valour, romance and hope, his characters never conformed to the binaries of good and evil, instead portraying the various shades of grey and ambiguities that encapsulate what it means to be human. Kalki’s characters communicated his unequivocal views on politics and war. That religion and politics are an undesirable and combustible combination, that the adverse impact of wars on the environment and civilians far outweighs the political gains, and that civilians ought not to be harassed when a war is under way – are recurring themes.

Full Title: Parthiban’s Dream

Author: Kalki Krishnamurthy
Publisher: Ratna Sagar
Translator: Nandini Vijayaraghavan
Original Language: Tamil

Award Category: Translated into English
About the Book: 

Parthiban Kanavu is an important milestone in Kalki’s illustrious literary career. It offered tantalizing perspectives of his literary style and what would be his more critically acclaimed works that followed. Vivid descriptions of nature, flora and fauna formed memorable backdrops against which Kalki’s gripping plots unfolded. While the stories he told were timeless ones of valour, romance and hope, his characters never conformed to the binaries of good and evil, instead portraying the various shades of grey and ambiguities that encapsulate what it means to be human. Kalki’s characters communicated his unequivocal views on politics and war. That religion and politics are an undesirable and combustible combination, that the adverse impact of wars on the environment and civilians far outweighs the political gains, and that civilians ought not to be harassed when a war is under way – are recurring themes.


About the Author: 

KALKI KRISHNAMURTHY (1899–1954) is among the most renowned Tamil writers. He was a novelist, journalist and music critic. This polymath, who also participated in India’s independence movement, was a recipient of India’s highest literary honour, the Sahitya Akademi Award, which he received for his social novel Alai Osai (The Sound of the Waves). His writings include over 120 short stories, ten novellas, five novels, three historical romances, editorial and political writings and hundreds of film and music reviews.


Excerpt: 

Parthiban Kanavu (Parthiban’s Dream) was a novel Kalki R. Krishnamurthy penned as a weekly serial beginning 1941 in Kalki, the magazine that he had founded. Written in simple and elegant prose, Parthiban Kanavu is a breezy fictional historical romance in which good triumphs over evil and the lovers overcome obstacles posed by dynastic affiliations, intrigue and separation to be united in matrimony. The novel was an instant hit and was made into a Tamil film starring Gemini Ganesan, Vyjayanthimala and S.V. Ranga Rao in 1960. Parthiban Kanavu is an important milestone in Kalki’s illustrious literary career. It offered tantalizing perspectives of his literary style and what would be his more critically acclaimed works that followed.


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