“Oru Malayali Bhranthante Diary” written by N. Prabhakaran has been translated to English as “Diary of a Malayali Madman” by Jayasree Kalathil. One of the major contemporary writers in Malayalam and the recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award strengthens his position on a pan India basis with this skillfully translated piece.
An outright and straightforward protagonist dares to question our ignorance before arriving at his question or answer. Our consumption of literature by foreign authors is restricted to a few names like Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. But the ‘madman’ has no limits. He draws inspiration from Gogol, one of the finest comic writers and the author of the book ‘Diary of a Madman’. As he drives us through this journey of his, we are all set for an outing with seat belts on, without any halt in between.
The story set in North Kerala delves into the geography, folklore, and politics of the region, boldly exploring the intricacies of the uncanniness each character possesses. The life in this small town is incorporated well in this diary entry, dismissed by the protagonist himself as a diary. “Let everyone say whatever they want. It doesn’t concern me. I have my path. They have theirs.”, says him. The details of the people filling each frame are rich and relatable. Converging right to these realistic descriptions is a tint of fiction, politics without any affiliations culminating into a brilliant tale of madness, solitude, and love.