One Hell of a Lover – Unni R, Translated by J. Devika


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‘This collection of Unni R.’s short stories represents a quantum leap in the Indian literary imagination. Unni is a master of the interior, a fabulist of the humdrum, a saboteur of the given. Political to the core, here’s contemporary Indian short fiction at its best.’ —Paul Zacharia

‘Unni R.’s stories have drawn wide attention and praise. He has redeemed the contemporary Malayalam short story from the trap of congealed modernism. He fantasises love, he vandalises the hackneyed narrative. That’s quintessential Unni R. One Hell of a Lover culls from his oeuvre some of his best writings so far. A good read, I swear!’ —M. Mukundan

‘While staying close to the premises of rural life, Unni R.’s stories achieve a unique universal stature. Strewn across them are brilliant observations on society and a sharp commentary on micropolitics.’ —Benyamin

Unni R. writes short stories and screenplays in Malayalam. He is known for his distinct idiom and black humour, sparse style and incisive social criticism. Some of his most acclaimed stories are ‘Kaalinaadakam’, Leela’, ‘Kottayam 17’, ‘Vaanku’ and ‘Oru Bhayankara Kaamukan’. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the prestigious Kerala Sahitya Akademi Geetha Hiranyan Endowment, the Thomas Mundasseri Award, the K.A. Kodungalloor Award and the T.P. Kishore Memorial Award.

Unni’s short story ‘Ozhivudivasathe Kali’ (Holiday Fun) was made into a film that went on to win the 46th Kerala State Film Award for Best Film in 2015. He won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Screenplay for Charlie in the same year. His notable screenplays include Leela, Munnariyippu, ‘Kullante Bharya’ in 5 Sundarikal and ‘Bridge’ in Kerala Café. His documentary film The Living Martyrs of a Spy Case was screened at the Bombay International Documentary Festival. Recently, he debuted as a novelist with Prathi Poovan Kozhi (The Rooster is the Culprit).

J. Devika is a feminist historian, social researcher and teacher at the Centre for Development Studies in Kerala. She is interested in opening up the boundaries between academic, public and pedagogic discourses, the social sciences and humanities, and English and Malayalam. She translates literature and social science between Malayalam and English, and writes occasionally for children, besides offering commentary on contemporary politics in Kerala on She has translated into English the works of Lalithambika Antharjanam, Nalini Jameela, K. Saraswathi Amma, Sarah Joseph, K.R. Meera and Ambikasutan Mangad.



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