'Tamil Pulp': Sexy, Gory Fiction, Now In English Tamil is a language known for its poetry, but commentator Sandip Roy knows it has another side. Dime-store pulp fiction has a large Tamil-speaking following — and a newly translated anthology is coming to America.
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'Tamil Pulp': Sexy, Gory Fiction, Now In English

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'Tamil Pulp': Sexy, Gory Fiction, Now In English

'Tamil Pulp': Sexy, Gory Fiction, Now In English

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  • Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Unidentified Man #1: Suddenly, a trickle of blood began to flow from a crack in the stone tomb. How could fresh blood come out of a tomb built in 1977?

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: A few lines from "Hold on a Minute, I'm in the Middle of a Murder." It's part of a collection of Indian pulp fiction that's been translated from Tamil into English. Commentator Sandip Roy has all the details.

SANDIP ROY: Unidentified Man #2: One of the mob stepped up with a flower garland, ready to put it around Visu's neck. Woven into the strands of flowers was a cobra.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROY: Unidentified Man #3: Archana shook her head in disappointment. Her pallu fell off her shoulder and Visu's gaze swooped down to her chest like a jet landing on a runway. Archana followed his look and adjusted her sari.

INSKEEP: Unidentified Man #3: She giggled.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROY: Pritham remembers one meek old woman who let her husband do all the talking, even when negotiating rights to her books. She made coffee, switched off the stove, and took her granddaughter to dance class. Just a typical gray-haired grandma, until she picks up her pen.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROY: A picture formed in her imagination: Gunaseelan lying in an ornate bed, surrounded by liquor bottles and a harem of scantily-clad women. She began trembling.

ROY: That's from "Dim Lights, Blazing Hearts," coming soon to a bookstore near you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Commentator Sandip Roy is an editor with New America Media. And you can read some Tamil pulp fiction yourself at NPR.org.

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