SUNDARA RAMASWAMY

1931-2005

Sundara Ramaswamy (1931-2005) was a renowned writer in Tamil, incomparable in his reach and versatility. His perennial interest in experimenting with forms and themes keep him within an ever-evolving act of creation. He had developed for himself a unique sense of narration, marked by a keen sense for local languages and a sense of honour. His stories made delightful and compelling reading.

The Tamarind Tree (1966), his first novel, and J.J. Some Jottings (1981) have a cult following. All three novels of Su Raa are scheduled to be issued by Penguin under its Modern Classics Series. One of our iconic writers, Ramaswamy’s stories are an ironic take on modernity’s slow ingress into traditional ways of life. He was honored for his work with the Katha Chudamani award (2004) and Lifetime Achievement award from the University of Toronto (2001).

TAMARIND HISTORY - (Oru Puliyamarathin Kathai)

Number of pages: 210

With a narrative breadth never before seen in Tamil fiction, Sundara Ramaswamy's Tamarind History inaugurated a new era in Tamil letters. Its meditations on the loss of beloved places; the shared experience of the past; and the meaning of togetherness amid struggle, ambition and enmity, all flow from the life of an aged tamarind tree that stands at the centre of a bustling town. This town's wild places - their mythic pasts still treasured by an old wanderer and the youth who listen to his tales-are stripped away as politicians commit to modernization in the name of progress. Yet the town remains filled with life and beauty, even as it is irrevocably damaged. Tamarind History first published in 1966 has sold more than a 125,000 copies in Tamil in this millennium and is probably the highest selling literary fiction even today.

Published in English* (Penguin) Malayalam (SPCS Publication),
Hindi (HarperCollins) and Hebrew (Hakibbutz Hameuchad).
Published in Kannada (Lankesh Prakashana)
*English rights other than Indian sub-continent open.