I'll get to the authors later, the prolific Rajesh Kumar among them. For now, some highlights of translator Pritham K. Chakravarthy's immensely informative introduction. The author Sujatha's detectives, she writes, "were suddenly speaking a kind of Tamil that was much closer to our Anglicized language than anything we had seen before on paper."
Tamil pulp stories were published in weekly magazines, and "households would meticulously collect the stories serialized in these weeklies and have them hard-bound to serve as reading material during the long, hot summer vacations."
The introduction takes brief excursions into the ancient history of the Tamil language, its revival in a twentieth-century literary renaissance, and separate traditions of the British "penny dreadful" and the American crime novel that all contribute to the Tamil pulp tradition.
"From the days when our English reading consisted of Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys up until we grew out of Earl (sic) Stanley Gardner, Arthur Hailey, and Hadley Chase," Chakravarthy writes, "we also had a parallel world of Ra. Ki. Rangarajan, Rajendra, Kumar ... "
Parallel worlds. Literature that readers like so much, they collect and bind it themselves. An ancient language revivified by contact with English. Sounds to me as if interesting things are happening in Tamil fiction.
© Peter Rozovsky 2010