Title: The Angel’s Beauty Spots: Three Novellas
Author: K.R. Meera
Translated from the Malayalam by J. Devika
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Genre: Literary Fiction, Translations
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.