Why everyone should read more of Malayalam writer Rajelakshmy’s groundbreaking fiction

A Path and Many Shadows & Twelve Stories is a collection of short stories and a novel by noted Malayalam writer Rajelakshmy. Rajelakshmy (1930-65) was amongst the early generation of important writers from Kerala, and the first woman novelist to win the Kerala Sahitya Akademy award in 1960. The novel was actually published two years before that, which meant Rajelakshmy had already written a remarkable novel by the age of 28, bearing comparison to the precociousness of an Ismat Chugtai or a Qurratulain Hyder. Rajelakshmy’s work was also widely performed on radio and television, and invoked a strong, subtle consciousness of the strains of family life and female adulthood. She explored a wide variety of genres – novels, poetry, short stories – and was published in all the leading Malayalam literary journals of the 1960s. Her influence since those times has only grown and she is now acknowledged as one of the pioneers of post-colonial modernism in prose in India. But the achievement and intensity of her work reflected a difficult, perhaps even tragic life – she committed suicide in 1965, at the age of just 35. This has become part of her legend. It may be noted that […]

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