As creative juices spilled, many fictional works were released in 2020, several of them leaving readers awestruck.

Profile of a woman seated on the floor reading a book She is wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt A door painted dark brown is seen beside herImage for representation
Features Books Sunday, December 27, 2020 - 12:18

A year of staying indoors saw a steep increase in the number of bibliophiles. As creative juices spilled, many fictional works were released, several of them leaving readers awestruck. Here are 10 of the best Malayalam works of fiction released in 2020:

  1. Qabar (KR Meera)

Undoubtedly the best Malayalam novel of the year, Meera’s Qabar touches upon how judgements can’t be solutions, while narrating a story rooted in realism and magical realism. Read in the wake of contemporary India where a temple is being built after bringing down a masjid, Qabar unveils through the fantasy and reality of a district judge named Bhavana, and Kakkassery Thangal, a respondent in a case she hears. The respect, love, grief and commitment of the characters are tied to the lineage they carry with them.

Publisher: DC Books

Price: Rs 150

Pages: 104

  1. Neelachadayan (Akhil K)

The eight stories in this book penned by Akhil bear no uneasiness of a debutante. Thanks to his amazing play of words, the readers are quickly transported to an off-road journey along with human wilderness set in north Kerala, full of twists, turns, rocky terrain and dangerous gorges. The beauty of the details combined with the mesmerising narration leaves the reader surprised at the end of each story.

Publisher: Green Books

Price: Rs 135

Pages: 104

  1. Nishabda Sancharangal (Benyamin)

In his latest novel, Benyamin traces the life of expatriate nurses, who saved their families in Kerala from poverty but whose struggles or lives or even names were never part of history. In this tribute to the lives of women who left their homeland to serve the globe, a man attempts to look back at his ancestry, tracking down the story of Mariamma, a military nurse who lived eight decades ago tending to survivors of World War II. Curiosity turns into obsession and then to empathy as he discovers the trails of silent pioneers like Mariamma.

Publisher: DC Books

Price: Rs 330

Pages: 296

  1. Kilimanjaro Bookstall (Rajendran Edathumkara)

A bookstall is where knowledge meets creativity and where ‘otherhood’ is imbibed into one’s self. Rajendran’s Kilimanjaro Bookstall is where a bookseller witnesses how books turn into people and people into books. Incomplete journeys and broken narrations of lives, memories and tales make the read an unparalleled experience for its beautiful language and narrative.

Publisher: DC Books

Price: Rs 220

Pages: 204

  1. Vilayath Buddha (GR Indugopan)

In this tale of a battle between a teacher and his disciple for a rare sandalwood tree, Indugopan unveils love, hatred, vengeance, power, surprises and helplessness. Set in Marayoor, the novel hypnotises the readers with the fragrance of sandalwood and jaggery, the lives there tangled in power politics and retaliation, like a perfect blockbuster movie package.

Publisher: Mathrubhumi Books

Price: Rs 180

Pages: 128

  1. Andhar Badhirar Mookar (TD Ramakrishnan)

Ramakrishnan’s novel is set in Kashmir after the repeal of Article 370 that granted it special status. People disconnected from the rest of the world, away from media limelight or even public memory are represented by Fathima Nilofer Bhat, who is also a symbol of the women victims of all war crimes. The reader is left to rethink about the idea of justice, peace and politics.

Publisher: DC Books

Price: 199

Pages: 175

  1. Goodbye Malabar (KJ Baby)

Through this fictional narration, Baby looks at the life of William Logan, the Collector of erstwhile Malabar and the author of Malabar Manual, his personal and professional life, and his notable work in recording the history of struggles, politics and lives in Malabar. Exploring the geography, dialects and farming practices of Malabar, the novel is told from the point of view of Annie, Logan’s wife.

Publisher: DC Books

Price: Rs 250

Pages: 320

  1. Puttu (Vinoy Thomas)

Vinoy’s Puttu represents the evolution of mankind, from hunters to farmers to the social beings of today. How man, bound to family, religion and systems created over centuries, yearns to be freed from his shackles, to return to his wild self, is portrayed in the novel. Vinoy’s craft is evident in the way he effortlessly blends the major plot with the subplots and the shifts between the characters.

Publisher: DC Books

Price: Rs 399

Pages: 384

  1. Babri Masjidil Pakshikal Anayunnu (Pramod Raman)

This collection of eight short stories by Pramod Raman creatively explores the political and social Indian contemporary scene, pointing to the lives of the marginalised, the power handlers and the inevitability of being. The hard-hitting stances and conversations of the characters let readers brood over current issues.

Publisher: DC Books

Price: Rs 125

Pages: 112

  1. Aghorikalude Idayil (Rihan Rashid)

Fiction and travelogue blend seamlessly in Rihan’s novel about a young man’s journey from Kozhikode to the land of aghoris, the unconventional sadhus who worship Lord Shiva. In the novel narrated as a diary entry, the protagonist gives up his love and his physical comforts and sets off to become an aghori; the people he encounters, the ecstasy he experiences and the world he sees are shared with the reader without losing charm.

Publisher: Soochika Books

Price: Rs 120

Pages: 95

Vandana Mohandas is a movie-maniac, an unapologetic feminist, a believer of human rights, and admits it if she is wrong or ignorant, or both.

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