Adam by S. Hareesh, translated from the Malayalam by Jayasree Kalathil is a concoction of 9 short stories filled with observations from the world around us. In the foreword of the book, S. Hareesh says, “this collection reflect the language and lifestyle of the land where I was born and grew up. I am of the opinion that our writing is affected by the people we meet and the books we read.”
The author has done exactly that through these stories, which capture the nuances of human nature in a darker side – anger, jealousy, lust, greed, etc. He captures the actions and consequences of each emotion with ease. The stories are too close to a darker aspect of reality and invoke a strong response while reading them.
A collection of short stories is like opening up a box of assorted chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. I thoroughly enjoyed a couple of stories while a few didn’t standout for me, and then there are those few that you can’t make up your mind about.
The title story ‘Adam’ is about four dogs born from the same mother but go on to lead very different lives; while one finds glory, a dreadfully unadventurous life for two and lastly Adam had it worst of all, but also ends up making the most of his circumstances. ‘Murder at the Culvert’ didn’t particularly stand out for me but it was an engaging story nonetheless. The story which I enjoyed the most was ‘Alone’ wherein the author’s witty, imaginative writing shines through. I enjoyed the metaphors he uses to describe the unknown character’s sleep like state, with ease and relatability. Through this character the author writes on encountering a reading room in the middle of a night, “What if someone – a bookworm – was still inside, reading in the light of a candle? What if there was a mountain of books that he had read piled up to his left, and an even bigger pile of yet-to-read books to his right?”, is most certainly my favorite line from the book.
He has explored themes of death and animals for the better part of the book. Like short stories tend to do, each one leaves you wondering, each one setting your imagination loose for more. As Hareesh would say, “stories have the power to change the world for better or worse.” What you interpret from these stories may be different from most which comes from one’s experiences in life, which is why I do recommend picking up this collection to find out for yourselves.
Thank you @vivekisms and @penguinindia for sending across a review copy of this #translatedgem
About the Author
S. Hareesh won the JCB Prize for Literature in 2020 for his debut novel Moustache. He is the author of three short story collections: Rasavidyayude Charithram, Adam and Appan. He has received the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award twice (for Meesha in 2019 and Adam in 2016). He has also written the screenplays for the film Aedan, which received the Kerala State Award for Best Screenplay in 2017, and Jallikattu, which won a Silver Peacock at the International Film Festival of India and was India’s official entry in the Best International Feature category at the 93rd Academy Awards.