Category Archives: K.R. Meera

Read 7 of 2022. Qabar by K.R. Meera. Translated from the Malayalam by Nisha Susan.

Qabar by K.R. Meera

Title: Qabar
Author: K.R. Meera
Translated from the Malayalam by Nisha Susan
Publisher: Eka Books, Westland
ISBN: 9789391234515
Genre: Novella, Literary Fiction, Translated Fiction
Pages: 111
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Reading K.R. Meera’s writing is to let go of the thin line between reality and the imaginary, and to submit oneself to the power of her words. K.R. Meera’s writing isn’t easy. There are layers and multi-folds of emotions attached to it, each tying it all together, each capable of destroying the very tapestry she creates for the reader.

There were times while reading Qabar I was terrified, I was immersed in what she wanted me to see, and often found myself taking the place of the protagonist, Bhavana. I do not know how to talk about the plot of this book, but I shall try. Qabar is about a disputed piece of land, and in this dispute Bhavana, the judge of the case gets caught unknowingly. It is about her ancestor as well, who in some way or the other is related to the events that unfold. Qabar is about Bhavana’s child Advaith, who has ADHD and is trying to cope, after his father deserted them. Qabar is about Bhavana’s buried emotions, till she meets a petitioner and her life takes an unexpected turn – for the better or worse she doesn’t know yet. It is also about religion and the fences we create in its name.

K.R. Meera’s writing is nothing like I have read before. She surprises me by the power of her craft through every new book published. Her writing is bold, nonchalant, full of desire, and undertones of race, class, and provides no solutions. Her writing is empathetic and yet extremely visceral in nature. It is all over the place, and yet seems so grounded – it has the power to make you imagine – transport yourself to the world she creates and makes you stay there till you are done with it. Nisha Susan’s translation does more than enough justice to the plot – it did not read like a translation to begin with and when it did, I didn’t feel anything was missed out.

Qabar is a short novel, almost a novella, and yet says so much. The layers are umpteen and complex. From love to envy, to insecurities of a single mother, to understanding the nature of magic, it is a topsy-turvy ride of a read. A read  I so wish just didn’t stop. Qabar’s magic realism – its tone of all things that lay in suspension of belief is not only charming but fearsome and thrilling. K.R. Meera explores desire and the pangs of longing like no other contemporary Indian writer I can think of.  Qabar is a read that will have you gripped till you are done with it.

The Angel’s Beauty Spots: Three Novellas by K.R. Meera. Translated from the Malayalam by J. Devika

The Angel's Beauty Spots - Three Novellas by K.R. Meera Title: The Angel’s Beauty Spots: Three Novellas
Author: K.R. Meera
Translated from the Malayalam by J. Devika
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
ISBN: 978-9388292832
Genre: Literary Fiction, Translations
Pages: 136
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars

It has been ten days since I finished reading The Angel’s Beauty Spots, a collection of three novellas by the hugely talented writer, K.R. Meera. The book hangs heavy in my mind and heart. K.R. Meera’s writing has the knack of doing that – of worming its way through your heart and then the feeling of melancholia sets in strong.

 Why you ask?

Well because her stories are steeped in reality not very far removed from the world around us. A world where women have to struggle to make themselves seen, heard, and most of the time even loved.

These novellas are about women who do all of the above and more. They are fiercely independent and yet strangely tied to their men. They are lost, and not in the sense that they don’t know what’s in store for them, but they just wish it was easier, comfortable, and perhaps even simple. But would they be any happier if their lives were all of this? I guess not.

K.R. Meera’s women have this unique voice to them. This gumption, and yet this vulnerability that can overtake everything else. The hidden nuances as the world moves on around them. She creates a world that isn’t the one we live in or that’s the feeling I get when I read her every single time.

The book is divided in three novellas, as the title suggest.  The first is the titular novella about Angela who lives life on her terms (a string of convenient affairs and a failed marriage) and raises two girls single-handedly till tragedy strikes and things go way out of control.

The second novella (previously published as well), And Forgetting the Tree, I.. is about Radhika and the return of a long-time lover in her life and the consequences thereof.

The last novella is titled The Deepest Blue about a wife who yearns more and longs for more than her husband can offer and seeks solace in the arms of a love that transcends time.

These are the premise of the novellas. It may seem ordinary till it isn’t. Meera’s writing infuses life, disappointment, a heavy heartedness, a feeling that won’t leave, and a claustrophobic sense of hopelessness in almost every novella. And yet, there is love. There is tenderness, and moments that redeem these women. There is violence, there is also rape, and there is a lot of anger as well. Meera’s characters like I mentioned earlier, do not have it easy. They are forever drifting to find their place in the world.

There is something about them – a tenacity and a sort of attitude that also wants to give up quite easily. And adding to that the translation by J. Devika as always is wondrous – stringing it all together for the English language reader, keeping the imagery and sense of prose intact.

The Angel’s Beauty Spots: Three Novellas is a great introduction to K.R. Meera’s works if you haven’t read her before. For those who have, you are in for a treat. Either way, read her and be mesmerised by the dark places of the human soul she is willing to explore and present it to her readers.