There is a common misconception that Tamil books (read fiction) is not exploring different genres or it is difficult to read the language which by itself kills the joy of reading. Most of the English books which hit the market is either romance or sci-fi/fantasy stories. The current trend of tamil books have long before crossed this threshold and is exploring too many things. In a way, the french literature scene have some impact on tamil literature to some extent.
There are few science fictions tried by well known writer Sujatha. There is anthology of short stories called “Vingyana Sirukathaigal” translating to scifi short stories. It is a collection of short stories based on science, which effortlessly explains various things about physics, chemistry with a hint of humor to it.
The short story anthology written by writer Jayamohan (Known for Angadi theru, kadal, Nan kadavul) called Visumbu explored the untouched botanical science fiction and zoological science fiction which is very rare in any language.
There are novels like Aaah, Pesum bommaigal by Sujatha which talked about Split personality, mental disorders and robotics. Most of the tamil readers would not have read these books. There is a book released in this year’s book exhibition called “6174” which is a part fantasy and analytical thriller in the lines of Angels and Demons and Da Vinci Code.
The reason for the failure of such books, is even the authors do not know who their audience is. They have the onus of making layman understand what they are trying to say. In this dilemma they are not able give detailed explanation about what they are trying to say like Michael Crichton and the likes. Apart from this the tamil novels are high in standards which can emotionally and intellectually engage the audience.
For example, there is a novel called “Silandhi” by MG Suresh. The novel is about a detective trying to solve the mystery of murders happening in a lunatic asylum. From the start author makes you play the detective. There are separate chapters for male and female detectives and the story takes diversion based on reader’s gender. Its a unique and well received story delivery. Reading it itself is a different experience.
These kind of books doesn’t even reach the audience and so called tamil readers too are not aware of the existence of such books. Thanks to my brother, I get to read these novels. The publishers hardly create any hype about the novels they are going to release. There are hardly any marketing activities happening over the books that is going to be released by them.
The tamil writers are still stuck in the hands of the publishers. The blog writers or Indie authors do not get any visibility at all. This leads to a talented author getting stuck in the hands of the publishers and not getting enough royalty.
Recently Kizhakku pathipagam of New Horizon Media has started giving out application for Iphone and Ipad users similar to Kobo and Aldiko, through which we can read books as well as buy books. This is one step to reach the audience than waiting in the bookstall for the readers to show up. The android platform has many applications which give us the works of Kalki, Devan, Jayakanthan and Pudhumai pithan. If this trend continues we will get to read so many classics in the mobile which will lead to buying hard copies if the novel interests the reader. And most importantly it will bring out the talented writers from the clutches of the publishers and we will see more different attempts by upcoming authors.
(This post was the article that was published in Tamil E-magazine New Gen Tamila. You can read the Tamil version here)
P.S. You can find the comment of Author Kasthuri Sudhakar, who wrote tamil novel 6174 in the comments section.