Book Review: Weaving Fire by M. V. Venkatram, Translated by Sumi Kalisapathy

Elegant, emotional, and worth reading story!


Book Title: Weaving Fire – Demy
Author: M.V. Venkatram
Translated By: Sumi Kalisapathy
Publisher: Rupa Publications

Book Review
Literature uses creativity as a measuring stick and a descriptive instrument for living itself. Writing must give a life account from a historical and psychological viewpoint to achieve the Novel form. It must use those wireframes to build a story that is whole in and of itself.

Weaving Fire by M.V. Venkatram, originally written in Tamil and titled Velvi Thee, translated by Sumi Kailasapathy, is a 180-page book that contains a story that encounters ironic circumstances and characters. Because translation does not affect the perception, the book can be thoroughly enjoyed. Knowing the unknown is a characteristic that allows the brain to seek answers. This book by renowned author M.V.Vekatram is an under-appreciated story that questions humanity’s very survival!

The stories of a little-known group of Saurashtrian silk weavers in Tamil Nadu inspire this translation of Velvi Thee, the famous Tamil book by M.V. Venkatram. Author M.V. Venkatram weaves the story with the nuances of the community lifestyle, which is not recorded much in Tamil literature.

Weaving Fire by M. V. Venkatram, Translated by Sumi Kalisapathy Book Cover
Weaving Fire by M. V. Venkatram, Translated by Sumi Kalisapathy Book Cover

The story opens with rain lashing and destroying the community of weavers, including the house and looms of Kannan and his wife, Kausalai. Due to Kannan’s financial disaster, his longtime friend and employee have the chance to betray him. Young widow Hema joins Kannan’s life during this upheaval. She is adamant about having a relationship with Kannan, even if it means sharing him with her friend Kausalai and providing financial support for Kannan to help him out of his difficult position. Once she learns about Hema’s motivations, a pregnant Kausalai is indignant and devastated.

Through Kannan’s tale, readers have an excellent opportunity to comprehend life, society, and the challenges of silk weavers in the 1960s. It is a well-done depiction of characters and a slice of reality. This book is notable more for the mental battle between the three characters amid the turmoil of outward life than for the fight of the weavers. It does this in a subtle, elegant, and remarkably realistic manner. Kannan, a highly skilled and diligent weaver, has spent his entire life fighting for survival after being exploited by his family members and, subsequently, by shady intermediaries who ensured the weavers’ continued poverty. This is narrated realistically with poignant writing. Though this is a translation work, Sumi Kailasapathy has excelled in showcasing the author M.V. Venkatram’s uncredited work – Vellithee or Weaving Fire.

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There is much to learn and comprehend regarding the battles behind the brilliant Kanjivaram, silk, and zari sarees. This provides a brief historical overview of this amazing and magical art. The characters in this book are pretty remarkable because although they initially seem average, they actually have fascinating backstories that emphasize their interior qualities. A new reader will likely appreciate it just as much because the characters are well-developed, and the writing (in the translated form) is straightforward and concise.

You never know what to anticipate when you open a book, but it is precisely what you need. More than the battle of weaving, this novel is notable for its delicate, graceful, and particularly realistic depiction of the three characters’ mental conflict amid the turmoil of outward life.

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