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13 July 2015 | Kochi, Kerala
MOTERWRITER.COM reviews the latest hit novel – Birds That Fly Ahead
An explosive inquisition into the mind of a modern day revolutionary
Author C. Radhakrishnan’s novel ‘Birds That Fly Ahead’ is another book in a series centered around a lead protagonist chronicling the class struggle led by a left leaning extremist movement that mowed through India decades ago and the remnants of which can still be seen today in various trickles and forms. Arjun is a revolutionary, the state has charged him with various cases of murder and heists. But what is the truth? Did he commit all those murders as they claim? Can the murders and violence he perpetrated ever be justified? And if he’s not to blame, then who should be held accountable? These are some of the questions we seek answers to in this epic novel saddling both philosophical and political reverberations with ease. This is the English translation by Kairali Narayanan of the Malayalam novel “Munpe Parakkuna Pakshikal” originally released in 1989.
Economists often talk about how a minority segment in the population possesses more wealth than the majority population. But what gets neglected in such commentary is the level of power these wealthy minority groups possess and abuse of which is faced by the poor majority. But we have seen such oppressed groups eventually rebelling and attacking the system with often the youth leading the way. Such violent and non-violent protests still take place in many parts of the world today, hinting that that the core problems have not gone away and have remained the same.
Poets and philosophers like to get together and talk about a utopia where the harshness of the present reality gives way to an ideal life condition but merely wishing and hoping for such a change is not enough. And such existentialist thinking is well and beyond the affordability of the common folk. When the human animal is struggling for food, clothing and shelter, any solution should first address these pressing matters first before allaying the mind’s paranoia regarding mortality and the meaning of life.
“The fact that the book retains its relevance even today gladdens me as a writer but saddens me as a humanist,” C. Radhakrishnan told us when we interviewed him in connection with the book’s promotion. When we spoke with a few readers at a popular online book forum, they said the author has great ability to dive deep into the emotional and psychological ethos of the human mind and conjure up beautiful phrases and sentences laced with such silken feelings that you will find yourself shedding tears and laughing along with the characters. Kevin Peter who reviewed the book for Moterwriter.com said that while reading the book, one feels the angst in discovering that Man is yet to utilize his brain to the fullest capacity and whatever he uses, he uses in pursuit of irrelevant and foolhardy ambitions. “The section in Varnasi with Arjun in hiding has some finely imagined and written scenes bordering on neo-fantasy and magic realism. Perhaps it’s the effect of the great Ganges herself that propels such vivid imagery; when the dead, the alive and the half-dead meet such expositions are inevitable.”
About the author:
Born on 15 February 1939 at Chamravattom, Malappuram, in the state of Kerala in India C. Radhakrishnan is one among the most reputed living writers in the language of Malayalam. A scientist turned writer, he has contributed to all branches of creative literature, mostly fiction, besides popular science.
He was given the Kerala Sahitya Akademi’s Annual Award for the Best Book published in Malayalam during the year 1962 at the young age of 23, a record that stays. He’s also the recipient of Murtidevi Award of the Bharatiya Gnanapith Trust (2013) for the best creative work in Indian languages. He helped launch and establish Science Today (Times of India), the first popular science magazine of India at a young age of 24 years and later held senior positions with various national print media organs. He’s a filmmaker too; two of his four creations form part of the Indian Panorama of Feature Films. Some of his literary works translated to English are – Agni, Now For a Tearful Smile, Birds That Fly Ahead, Patches of Shade & Maybe Another Day.
Connect with him at – http://c-radhakrishnan.info
Discover C. Radhakrishnan’s book at –
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