The Other Face

Author:   Translator: N T Bhat

Set in a fictitious village called Kanthapura in Kasaragod district, Mukhāntara spans across the life of seven generations of a Havyaka Brahmin family. A story about the realities of living in a society marked by caste distinctions, the desire to find communal harmony and the tribulations of the characters through the entirety of the novel, it is also a tale of changing times and people. After unexpectedly coming into possession of a huge portion of land, Thirumalēshwara Bhat of Īshwarīmūle becomes a satisfied man. But childless, Thirumalēshwara Bhat and his wife Pārvathakka decide to adopt Venkappaiah and also give shelter to his widowed mother, Rathnamma. Venkappaiah is to inherit Thirumalēshwara’s vast wealth but when Krishnaiah, the illegitimate child of Thirumalēshwara and Rathnamma is born, rivalry ensues. Through the overlapping narratives of the characters, we get a glimpse into their journey from tradition to modernity. The characters strive to reshape new values when old values are slowly questioned and erased as they move on and are swept along in the waves of globalization.

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