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Gedy from Hungary where Imre Negy was tricked and shot revealed the protagonist of this book to him in its complete formThe land of and shot revealed the protagonist of this book to him in its complete formThe land of story resides in a warp of all uotidian life Consumed I ve always thought I ve read fine literature before i started this one I was totally wrong This is what you call a fine piece of literature Truly a legend Enjoyed the read But I id feel a lot was lost in translation And some words could be interpreted wrong in the translation like oh in some places could have been hey Things like that However I really enjoyed the elements of fabulism and the LIFE OF VILLAGES THE AFTERWORD OF of villages The Afterword of the novel came to be was eually interesting This is such an important masterpiece in Malayalam literature so I will The Confabulist definitely be reading it in the originalIf you are not familiar with Malayalam and Kerala this might be of a 35 star read It was tedious settlingown in a Khasak of the 50s with legends protecting its ueer terrain and complex characters But once in the rich imagery Der Illusionist drew me further in and I was intrigued by the remote countryside eyes ofragonflies that held memories of the Enticing (PI Men to the Rescue deceased mosues that lay in ruins around the village crystaloors and silk curtains that opened in the epth of wells gossip that rose out of the tea shack The Legends of Khasak that s celebrated as a classic in Kerala is superstitions slight igs at communism and culture Ask the Past deaths sexism innocent ignoranceecay polyamory Riding Class (Saddle Club, dependency on alcohol by a peopleivine learned and lay alike extramarital sex and the myths of a village strung along the story of a man The English language has a word that can aptly summarize this book Magic Amidst these pages is sketched a portrait of a place named Khasak A sleepy hamlet isolated from the relatively bustling town of Palakkadu in northern Kerala is Khasak Guarded by the brooding enigmatic palms the little village is inhabited by men women who stand apart from most of the clichesTo say that I loved the landscape of this tale would be an understatement Even seven years after my first read I can think back and listen to the wind moaning howling or raging among the palm fronds I can visualise the isolated house by the pond where the female character of Maimuna stayed I can visualise the village simpleton Appukili wandering the hillsides looking for ragon flies and many such vivid and lively images Yes it is profoundly visual and the marks it left on my mind will not be erased for years to come It is a tale of a journey both in the physical and spiritual self of a man Ravi Running away from being smothered in shame he finds refuge in this most unlikely of places and meets human beings beyond his comprehension The author took 12 years to complete this work and it went on to become a landmark in Malayalam literature Little wonder though for very few people I Know Have Been Left Unmoved have been left unmoved the landscape of KhasakThere is another snippet of memory that resurfaced as I was keying in this review There was an award winning news photographer by the name of Victor George in Kerala Victor s greatest ream was to capture in his frames the landscape that the author immortalized through his words Alas Victor while on an assignment was claimed by a landslide a few years ago I still wonder how beautiful those images would have been Peace be to you Victor What a stunner I m overwhelmed The Legends of Khasak is a highly evocative polished work of magical realism that s firmly rooted in the soil of Kerala It s a pity most English speaking Indians have heard of Gabriel Garcia Maruez but not O V Vijayan Please get a copy of this at the soonest It ll be the best thing you ve read in a whileAlso please note that while this is a translation it is written by the author himself and may be regarded as a separate work in its own right. 's resting place and Ravi begins to understand that there is no escape from the relentless Different Class dictates of karma Often poetic andark always complex and rich The Legends of Khasak OV Vijayan's much acclaimed first novel translated into English by the author is an extraordinary achievement. ഖസാക്കിന്റെ ഇതിഹാസംI must warn the reader this would be of a meditation than a reviewI picked up Khasak in a bid to repossess some of reviewI picked up Khasak in a bid to repossess some of cultural legacy as a Malayali With parents who were nomads and spent time in Kashmir and Punjab than in Kollam I felt a need to educate myself on my cultural forebearsKhasak is a work which contrary to my expectation was as Indian in essence as Latin American in aesthetics and Arabian in the narrationTime is elliptical in Khasak and the Cartography vague both are functions of memory and not physics Vijayan s Malabar with its clattering black palms myths and sorcery is oneiric and simultaneous in fact almost coterminous with Maruez and Rufos magisterial Short Stories by Roald Dahl description of Latin American utopiasTime moves in a sinuous writhing orgasmic manner going back and forth seamlessly as the reader is entranced by the lapidary prose which is spare yet elegant enough to bring tears to your eyesKhasakenied aesthetics as practiced by most Indian writers and proceeded to bring a schism in the way literature was before and after its publicationReading Vijayan s work for the third time was not tedious as one expected but rather revelatory in his skill at foreshadowing and total lack of mimesisWhere Goldilocks the Three Bears does Ravi come from Whereoes he go The idea of a purpose to the written word is purposeless Or at least supplementary to beauty itselfOne wonders that when in the preface the author writes of his failed romance with communism forcing him to recast Ravi as a spiritual wayfarer and not a revolutionary whether the author realised how much richer the work is for that ecision when he started out Or was it too a post hoc realization of how Ravis journey was that uintenssentially of an Indian mystic and not that of a Marxist revolutionaryThis book has been a pilgrimage for me I am European in my humanism Russian in my hope of being egalitarian African in my myth making Latin American in my aesthetics and yet Indian by soul and spirit The same can be said about Khasak As a pilgrim the journey was arduous but espite all the hardships I can vouch the Socialist Realism deityid bless me and gift me with something that is ineffable Khasak the fictional village in rural Palakkad in Kerala is part of the mythology of a whole generation Of Keralites O V Vijayan Keralites O V Vijayan accomplished the writer s ultimate ream IN THIS NOVEL THE CREATION OF this novel the creation of who have live outside the narrow confines of the written pageAllapicha MollakkaNizam AliAppukkiliAnd many othersThey will live as long as the Malayalam language is alivePS For those who can t read Malayalam the book is available in translation as The Legends of Khasak Most of the reviews that I read here for this book are either from Keralites who read it in original Malayalam or from the fans of Gabriel Garc a M ruez who love literature with magic realism or from both Sadly my not being fan of GGM s One Hundred Years of Solitude resurfac The Legends of KhasakThe irrationalities of a sanguine age the horrors of war pogroms in the name of God caste language region and nation have been the popular themes in the works of Malayalam fiction writer and cartoonist OV VijayanSuch was the influence of his ebut Malayalam novel Khaskinte Ithihaasam 1969 that it Doctor Extraño divided Malayalam literature into two halves the pre Khask era and the post Khasak one It has run into 50 reprints and is the most widely sold novel in South AsiaThe Legends of Khasak Vijayan s 1994 translation of the novel however lacks the sensibility of the Malayalam original and is also a reflection of how the writer has in the course of 25 years meandered through the ideologies of Marxism and spiritualism in search of a solution to the maniacal injustices of our timesRavi the young protagonist walks into the sweltering heat of Khasak at the very outset of the novel to run a single teac. A restlessness born of guilt andespair leads Ravi to embark on a journey that ends in the remote village of Khasak in the picturesue Palghat countryside in Kerala A land from the past potent with reams and legends enfolds the traveller in a powerful and unsettling embrace Ravi is be. Her school in the remote village The character now a literary legend was riven to a level of meditative spiritual uest after an illicit affair with his literary legend was Never Tell driven to a level of meditative spiritual uest after an illicit affair his step He thus forsook a lucrative scholarship in Physics at Princeton for aetached life in an aashramRavi s Feminism is for Everybody drift from the academia to a cloister and later to Khasak from the guilt of a sin with a yogini imbibes the frailty of the human mind that is subdued by guilt andriven to a state of frenzy This remorse is a universal feature in colossal tragedies such as the story of Buddha who abandoned his palatial bungalow for the life of an ascetic Lady Macbeth who lost her sanity remorseful after her role in the regicide and even Othello who self annihilates having Deterring Democracy discovered the innocence of DesdemonaEven as heissolves into the everyday life of the village folk Ravi is alienated in the hamlet that has yet to be exposed to the winds of modernism Allah Pitcha the moulavi of Khasak thus becomes his natural foe as the friar considers modern education which spreads the Comet in Moominland (The Moomins, devil s sciences and Anglican ideas a baneThe novel is far beyond a rural narrative as the numerous characters each of aifferent genre and rarely appearing in than one chapter confers it the status of a classic There are Nizam Ali an orphan brought up by Allah Pitcha and the tailor Madhavan Nair both communists who come to Ravi s supportThe village beauty Maimuna married to Chukra Rawthar the retarded Appukkili brought up by many mothers from Hunters Heart different religions possibly a symbolic representation of Vijayan s commitment to secularism the revered temple priest Kuttanadan Sivaraman Nair the hindu fundamentalist and Kuppu Achan the toddy taper are all well weaved into an elaborate network thatirects the serious reader into a web of magic and mythKhasak is a multi religious community Along with Hinduism and Islam Vijayan has not missed the role of communism as an all pervasive ideology in Kerala s history His graphic representation of Nizam Ali s role in the founding of Koomankavu Beedi Worker s Union the first in the town and the subseuent confrontation with Attar who owned the factory followed by a strike and workers Menneskefluene (K2 demonstration is a caricaturised version of Kerala s long history of proletarian agitationsThat Nizam Ali who was arrested and jailed later gave up the struggle when tortured in custody is perhaps influenced by Vijayan s ownisillusionment with the left movement he had abandoned in the mid 1950sIn the Afterword to the novel absent in the Malayalam edition Vijayan confesses that he had intended Ravi to be a pilgrim revolutionary but the course of the work changed track after the killing of Imre Nagy in Hungary which blew the young writer s mind Reflecting on this he writes I thank providence because I missed writing the revolutionary novel by a hair s breadth Had I written it I would have merely made one boring entry in Marxism s futile repetitive bibliography OV Vijayan universalises his personal experiences throughout the novel Like the writer the protagonist too is an unceasing wanderer At the climax of the novel Ravi keeping his promise to his lover Padma ecides to leave Khasak on a monsoon morning As he waits at Koomankavu s bus stop he sees a blue b We have all had those times when after turning the last page of a book we sit back and wonder what cosmic serendipity had lead us to this book and allowed us to read the outcome of thoughts from a person we wish was from a world around us O to read the outcome of thoughts from a person we wish was from a world around us O Vijayan sacked from a college where he taught joined his family in a backward village of Thasarak Kerala where his sister had got a teaching assignment It was here that he found himself surrounded by the people who lived with their own measure of time The characters and stories seeped through to him and a coincidental tra. Witched and entranced as everything around him the villagers; their children whom he teaches in a makeshift school; the elders who see him as a threat; the toddy tappers; the shamans takes on the uality of myth And then reality painful and threatening begins to intrude on the sojourner. ,

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