Fading Dreams, Old Tales

Biographies & Memoirs, Arts, Photography & Design


Fading Dreams, Old Tales




This novel, set in the context of the history of the communist movement in Kerela and Tamil Nadu, revolves around three characters: the semi-autobiographical first-person narrator, her father, and Nandan, the man she eventually marries. Part-autobiography and part-political chronicle, the novel narrates a young girl's life experiences and expectations, and her hopes and ideals to bring about a new order during the turbulent period of history between the Second World War and the introduction of communism.

Although real incidents are narrated with candour and accuracy, the narrative is deeply personal: it is the turbulent realm of inner emotions and feelings, expressed in a stream of consciousness mode, that drives the narrative. With great finesse and felicity, history, autobiography, and fiction are interwoven into a tale that traces the life of a girl growing up in Naanjil Nadu, a Tamil-speaking area on the border shared by Tamil Nadu and Kerela, formerly known as Travancore. The youngest in a large extended family, the protagonist leads a carefree, pampered childhood, only to confront the real world with the death of her father. From poverty and deprivation to discovering strength, individuality, and voice, both as a communist party worker and a strong-willed woman of unusual convictions, this is a story of hope-a true recognition of the understated qualities of a woman who has pursued her ideals with a tenacity of purpose.