Subversive Whispers – Manasi; Tr. J Devika


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Manasi is a stalwart of Malayalam literature. With her unparalleled feminist writing and powerful voice, she has mastered the art of telling radical short stories. Through Subversive Whispers, a collection of some of her best work, she continues to defy patriarchy, question Brahminical hegemony and push narratives that subtly yet fervently challenge the status quo. The book introduces readers to the irreverent ‘Sheelavathi’, which explores the Madonna-Whore complex in a uniquely local context, ‘Devi Mahathmyam’, which sheds light on the price that women pay for being goddesses in mere name and stories such as ‘Spelling Mistakes’, ‘Square Shapes’ and ‘The Walls’, all of which explore romantic love with a piercing realism.

In stark and urgent murmurs that build up a fever pitch, these stories channel women’s voices that open up their inner worlds, struggling to capture the minutiae of their suffering. It is this whisper-like quality of Manasi’s storytelling that J Devika deftly conveys in translation, bringing the author’s prose to the English reader in an incendiary collection that is sure to cast light on the darkened chambers of patriarchy and the hidden recesses of women’s minds.


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