Kannada author Vivek Shanbhag ends the eight-year drought for his readers in English with a new novel, Sakina’s Kiss. Translated by Sahitya Akademi Award winner, Srinath Perur, it is being published by Penguin Random House India,
The novel was originally published in Kannada in 2021 as Sakinala Muttu. Sakina’s Kiss is a precise meditation on the persistence of old biases, and a rattled masculinity, in India’s changing socio-political landscape. Set over four mostly sleepless days, the protagonist, Venkat, and his family find their lives turned upside down as they get embroiled in a world of streets gangs and murky journalism. The novel, a literary masterpiece, keeps readers on the edge even as it interrogates the space between truth and perception.
Expressing his thoughts, Shanbhag said, “The world works in mysterious ways and my writing confirms this to me. Being translated by Srinath Perur is a process that can take me deeper into my own work. I am grateful for his generosity of spirit and attention to craft.”
Sharing his excitement, Srinath Perur, who also writes about science and travel and is co-translator of Girish Karnad’s memoirs, said, “One of the things I love about books in translation is that they can shake up the way we think about form and literary convention. Sakina’s Kiss is a fast-paced novel, a thriller almost. But it’s also making profound observations about the limits of our understanding, about how what goes on in our heads and what happens in our homes can’t be separated from the events of the wider world. The book has been great fun to work on and I’m thrilled it will be in the hands of readers soon.”
Vivek Shanbhag is a Kannada author, editor and playwright. He founded the pioneering literary journal Desha Kaala, editing it for seven years. His works include the widely translated Ghachar Ghochar. Although his stories are regularly translated and anthologised, Sakina’s Kiss is only his second complete work to be translated into the English. He is a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the Ashoka University. He is an engineer by training and lives in Bangalore.
Srinath Perur writes about science, travel and books among other things and translates from Kannada to English. He is the author of the travelogue If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai and the translator of This Life at Play and Ghachar Ghochar.