• Noel Jacob

The Legends of Khasak by O.V. Vijayan

The Legends of Khasak is the translation of the 1968 Malayalam classic Khasakkinte Ithihasam by the author himself. A book that revolutionised Malayalam literature for ages to come, it is based in the fictional city of Khasak, where legends and dreams blend into the everyday lives of people. Magical Realism forms the very backbone of the book. Poetic, dark, and richly intricate, O.V. Vijayan's debut novel fleshes out the humanity in every character, carefully crafted with complex stories.

Ravi, riddled by guilt and plagued by his past, leaves a promising future to take up a job as a primary school teacher in the remote village of Khasak. Little by little, Ravi realises he has more to learn than to teach. Khasak's many secrets unveil before him. He is immersed in a land filled with myths, superstitions, traditions, and legends that intermingle in the picturesque Palghat countryside. With every page, the author weaves an enchanting portrait of the land of Khasak, suffused with rich imagery.

Just as the author's philosophical ideologies and beliefs have changed over the years, so has the tone of the translation written decades after the original. Many readers choose to read them as separate works of fiction. As the author himself states, much is lost in translation that cannot be salvaged. Yet, the richness of the text seeps through despite the change in language and form.

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