The 2014 Booker Prize nominated global classic novel in English, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me, authored by Rethy Devi will be published in Tamil soon. Jayashankar Menon, senior journalist and author has already completed the novel in Tamil, which is currently undergoing editing and proofreading.
The book, which was written and published in Malayalam by the Green Books, while the English version is published by Book Venture, which is available on Amazon website. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me has been translated into 12 international languages. Termed by the book aficionados as one of the best ever novels of the 21st century, the book has elicited lot of interest the world over.
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me was submitted for the 2014 Manbooker Prize. Completed in a span of ten years, after referring in excess of 500 authoritative books, which occupies a pride of place on the bookshelves of around 60 countries. The book was released at the second biggest international Book Festival of the world, The Dubai International Book Fair 2015, where ten million people visited the fair. The then Ambassador of India in the UAE, Seetharam launched the book by handing it over to the renowned Indian writer Sethu. A sheer coincidence, though, Dan Brown, the author of Da Vinci Code was also present on that occasion.
Rethy Devi’s novel is also included as one of the best 98 books, chosen from the Malayalam language at the Frankfurt International Book Festival with the stated objective of translating and acquainting Malayalam books with world class literature. “This, I consider, is a great honour I received for my novel”, says Rethy Devi.
She has also attended the International History Seminar in 2015. Her paper, titled: “Post Colonial Feminist and Feminist Identity” was presented, while other eminent personalites such as Dr. Upinder Singh (daughter of then then Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh), Dr. Margret Frenz (Grand daughter of Dr. Herman Gundert), Dr. MGS Narayanan and others had presented their papers as well. The fictional biographical novel, titled: “Just Another Day In Paradise”, written by the renowned American writer Tom Mathews, New York, based on Rethy Devi’s life story, when she was a Human Rights Lawyer is also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Arun Arsha, Author of the novel, Auschwitz wrote, “Rethy Devi could go beyond The Da Vinci Code through her novel, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me. Her language is a blend of love and frenzy, just like a painting by Vincent Van Gog.” On the back cover of the latest edition, Arsha quotes a passage from the book, “There is a crazy female tree, on an island, surrounded by water on all the sides, which blooms only crazy lowers in all the seasons and it is me!”
The Tamil translation of the novel, titled: Magdaleenaavi (enadhum) pen suvisesham has been translated by the senior journalist, actor and author, Jayashankar Menon. Although a native of Palakkad, the polyglot writes in English, Tamil and Malayalam, besides having spoken knowledge of many languages. A passionate personality, Jayashankar was instrumental in bringing out a musical thriller movie in Malayalam, Kamboji, produced by his aunt, Prof. Lakshmi Padmanabhan. The film went on to bag four state awards and several other accolades. Besides doing cameo role in that movie, the Chennai-based artist has also co-produced a short film, Charakku while portraying a crucial character as well.
The uniqueness of this book is that the Tamil version is written by a non-Tamil person. Currently, the book is undergoing several rounds of editing and proof reading. At an event held in Kochi last week, Rethy Devi had touch based ace Tamil film actor and politician, Kamal Hassan and handed over the manuscript of the novel and requesting him to write a preface.
The 575 odd page book in Tamil, based on the most cardinal disciple of Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene, is going to elicit much interest the other translations of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Me had elicited across the globe.
Elaborating on the experience of transating the magnum opus, Jayashankar Menon said, “For more than three decades I was into full time active journalism covering conceivably all subjects. Of late, I ventured into the moving making aspects, meanwhile contemplating on taking up full time writing. I have about 30 odd Malayalam books at my disposal to be translated into Tamil and English. Last year, Rethy Devi, who contacted me through Linkedin, had thrown a challenge of writing her global classic into Tamil. What a way to start and what a book to translate! I readily accepted the offer. Although, I had my fair share of qutting my cosy job with a fat salary and sit to write a classic, with inherrent domestic pressure to sustain myelf, I did kick-start translating this book. Just eight months, 85K words, 575 odd pages, it was a non-stop marrathon. Some force was behind me, which was making me write in frenetic pace. When I look back, I couldn’t believe myself that I had completed the book within a year, which the original book was completed in ten years!”
The former VC of Malayalam University, Jayakumar IAS said, “This is a book of extraordinary bravery. It defies forbiddence and borders. My imagination of love is a sort of revolution itself. It is searching for the change from the existing male dominated power and forbiddence, which should be overcome.”
A couple of major book publishers have approached Rethy Devi and we will soon be finalising the publishing of the book, once we get to hear from Kamal Hassan, she added.