In a thorough academic review of the translated work of MT Vasudevan Nair’s much-acclaimed novel Naalukettu, Rizio Yohannan Raj comments upon the metaphors used in the novel, historic context and importance, protagonist Appunni and his quest, and the fall of Nair society in Kerala.
He provides a short and intense summary of the novel in the initial pages and gives an informed review about the book. He looks at metaphors of pagida, sarpam thullal and the naalukettu itself around which the story revolves. He studies the character of Appunni and his quest and calls him as the “prototypical quest figure in MT’s fictional world.”(194) He says,
Appunni’s journey to the world outside is more a symbol of a whole generation’s longing for freedom rather than his own quest. He finds his resolution in the same naalukettu which had once discriminated against him. His laughter that closes the novel is an ambivalent moment wherein opposites meet to co-habit. (194)
He delves into the history of Nair society in Kerala and its downfall because of various reasons, and links it to the novel. At the same time, he adds that “the anachronistic text of Naalukettu in fact redeems it from the traps of history” (195).
The review of the novel becomes significant for the researcher as it provides a short insight into the historical context of the novel and deals with the main preoccupations of the text. The limitation, if it has to be pointed out is that Raj could not delve deep into any of the aspects and had to bring out a more general understanding of the novel.