Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chennai publishers revive Tamil pulp fiction

She peers out of the window of a book shop, causing shoppers in Delhi’s bustling Khan Market to pause a moment and give her a second look. Her gaze is sultry, her black wavy hair gathered by a silver trinket and adorned with jasmine petals. It’s not clear whether the shoppers are distracted by her voluptuous charms under the transparent white sari over her low-cut blouse, or by the fact that she is demurely sipping blood from a skull-shaped coconut. Either way, she is hard to ignore – which, as the cover of The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction Vol II, is precisely her purpose.

The book is the latest title from Blaft Publications, an independent publishing house in Chennai, India’s southernmost city. Its English-language versions of Tamil pulp fiction are reviving interest in this once wildly popular form of writing, which was at its peak from the 1950s to the 1980s – the days before cable television. Printed on cheap paper (hence the name), the books were published in pocket-sized versions convenient for long-distance journeys on buses or trains.

Full report here National

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