A Warped Space — A Novel

By Mithra Venkatraj

The novel traces the lives, customs and social mores of people, rich and poor, over a time spanning almost a hundred years.Madhava, a feudal strong man, is ruthless, wilful and whimsical as he rules over the House of Kemmadi and its vast estate. Space around him seems to warp like his mind, and the three women, Laxmi, Para and Kamali struggle to live in this space, but not without their happy moments of domestic life and abiding bonds they make.Seetharama is coerced, cajoled and bullied by his older brother, Madhava, into abject submission while his happy marriage to Kamali totters.Ananthayya, Madhava’s uncle and trusted man, is jovial and helpful, takes his life as it comes with no undue concern for scruples and morals. This story is as much of the people as of the changing times they live in, and becomes very much so as Madhava stands up for feudalism in its dying days, while the forces unleashed by communist ideology are closing in on him and what he represents.

Mithra Venkatraj
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Mithra Venkatraj grew up in Kundapura, a town by the sea in coastal Karnataka. After her marriage (to Venkatraja Rao), she moved to Mumbai where she now lives. Mithra began to write short stories while she was still in college in her native town, but it is in Mumbai that she has done most of her writing.Mithra Venkatraj is an important short story writer in Kannada, and with this maiden novel she has received instant recognition as a significant novelist as well. She has published 3 short story collections and a novel so far, which have won her several major literary awards, including the ‘Shantaram Award for Best Book of the Year’ and ‘Infosys Foundation award for Best Novel of the Year’ for this novel. Her short stories have been included in definitive anthologies and some have been translated into English and one of them won her the ‘Katha’ award in 1993.Mithra writes subtly and movingly about human relations in all its diversity, exploring its frailties and triumphs with great empathy and understanding. Finely etched characters, a touch of humour, a sharp eye for details and evocative capture of the milieu -- make her writings stand out.