In his pathbreaking fiction, the acclaimed Tamil writer Imayam has written about the brutal complexities of the caste system and patriarchy in unadorned, powerful prose. Video Mariamman is a collection of fourteen of his finest stories.
Poonkothai goes looking for her daughter who has eloped with a ‘low-caste’ man, hoping to give the daughter her certificates and some money so that she can lead a decent life. The ‘Stolen Girl’, born into a family of black magicians and abducted when she had barely reached puberty, grows up to be a tough survivor who lives life entirely on her own terms. Srinivasan, a police constable, tormented after being a pallbearer for a Dalit corpse and horrified by its implications for his social status, decides to quit his job. Chandravadanam, a music prodigy, dies, and Kalaiammal, who brought her up without ever entering her house, mourns her death and curses the man for whom she gave up her youth and music.
In these and ten other stories—translated by Padma Narayanan with great skill and sensitivity—Imayam proves why he has been hailed as a writer with few equals anywhere, for his deep humanism and fierce sense of justice.