Malayali author Sethu pens first novel in English

New Delhi, Jan 5 (PTI) Noted Malayali writer A Sethumadhavan, popularly known as Sethu, has come out with his first novel in English in which he talks about how social evils continue to plague the Indian society.

In 'The Cuckoo's Nest', the author attempts to fight against these divisions in society through the character of the eternal optimist, Madam Agatha, a former nun.

She sets up a unique shelter 'The Nest' to empower hapless girls from all over the country irrespective of the religion, region or caste they hail from. Assisting her in this venture is her feisty friend, Colonel Annie Fernandez, a surgeon, along with a host of other characters who help her in running the institution.

At the outset, Agatha declares that the residents cannot speak of their religion or caste inside the campus.

The novel, published by Niyogi Books, seeks to explore the kind of challenges Agatha has to face from vested interests all around while working towards her idea of secularism. It provokes one to deliberate whether breaking away from these identities is actually practical or just wishful thinking.

Through the stories of the different girls that seek shelter here, the author attempts to showcase the plight of the Indian girl-child raised in an orthodox community. The story progresses to show how these 'birds' take flight and become self-reliant.

Sethu, who has been writing stories and novels in Malayalam for the past five decades, belongs to a generation of fiction writers who pioneered a radical transformation of sensibility during that period.

In this novel, he has employed a nonlinear style of storytelling with a desi cinematic feel to it. Vignettes of wisdom sparkle through the text and his writing style depicts strains in the man-woman relationship in a very simple yet subtle manner. PTI ZMN SHD SHD