Nireeswaran by V.J. James – a Vayalar and Kerala Sahitya Akademi winner
FROM THE AUTHOR OF ANTI-CLOCK, SHORTLISTED FOR THE JCB AWARD 2021
“A compelling narrative of shifting faiths and displaced gods. As realities and fantasies disentangle there appears in the nether regions an un-god, Nireeswaran, with no halo. A mind-boggling work from a master novelist.” M. MUKUNDAN, recipient of JCB Prize 2021
About the book
Is it possible for society to exist without religion? Nireeswaran, the most celebrated of Malayalam novelist V.J. James’ works, uses incisive humour and satire to question blind faith and give an insight into what true spirituality is.
Three atheists, Antony, Sahir, and Bhaskaran, embark on an elaborate prank to establish that God is nothing but a superstition. They instal a mutilated idol of Nireeswaran, literally anti-god, to show people how hollow their religion is. Their plan starts turning awry when miracles start being attributed to Nireeswaran-a man waking up from coma after twenty-four years, a jobless man ineligible for government employment getting a contract, a prostitute turning into a saint-leading hordes to turn up to worship the fake deity.
The trio is put in a quandary. Will they fight their own creation? Is their intractable minds an indication that atheism is a religion in itself? Belief and disbelief, it is possible, are two sides of the same coin.
Reviews on the book
V.J. James is a writer who can allure the readers to hitherto unknown realms with his innovative and original themes and sculpture-perfect craft. Nireeswaran shines as a milestone in Malayalam literature’s transformational journey.– VAYALAR RAMAVARMA MEMORIAL LITERARY AWARD
…unique narrative style and uncanny observation skills– BASHEER PURASKARAM
Strikingly original… In Nireeswaran, Malayalam literature’s new vitality blossoms– THOPPIL RAVI MEMORIAL LITERARY AWARD
About the Author
V.J. James writes in Malayalam. Born and brought up in Changanacherry, Kerala, he currently resides in Thiruvananthapuram. An engineer by profession, he worked at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. His debut novel Purappadinte Pusthakam was awarded the DC Silver Jubilee Award (1999), Malayattoor Prize and Rotary Literary Award. Other awards include the O.V Vijayan Award and Thikkurissi Award for Anti-Clock, and the Thoppil Ravi Award, Kerala Bhasha Institute Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Basheer Puraskaram and Vayalar Award for Nireeshwaran. The English translation of Chorashasthram was shortlisted for the Atta Galatta Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize. The Malayalam film Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol starring Mohanlal and Meena is an adaptation of his short story Pranayopanishath. Along with six short story collections, his major works include Purappadinte Pusthakam (1999), Chorashasthram (2002), Dathapaharam (2005), Leyka (2006), Ottakkaalan Kakka (2013), Nireeshwaran (2014) and Anti-Clock (2018).
About the Translator
Ministhy S. is an IAS officer working in the Uttar Pradesh cadre. She translates between three languages: English, Malayalam and Hindi. Her translation of The Poison of Love by Malayalam novelist K.R. Meera was longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 and The Unseeing Idol of Light by the same author shortlisted for the Crossword Book Jury Awards in 2018. She has further translated Sundar Kanda and Kishkindha Kanda from Awadhi to English, and the poetry collections My Home, After Me by Agneya from the Hindi and The Heaviness of the Rain by Veerankutty from the Malayalam.