Litanies of Dutch Batteries

01 December 2010

NS Madhavan

translated by Rajesh Rajamohan

Penguin Books India,

312 pages, ` 350

Born in Kochi’s Dutch Battery, Edwina Theresa Irene Maria Anne Margarita Jessica is a ‘bridgeless’ islander, disconnected from the mainland. The others include Jessica’s great-grandfather Louis, who stole the calculus of shipbuilding from his master and settled in Dutch Battery; Santiague, who was as passionate about staging the operatic drama, chavittunatakam, as he was about his evening toddy; and Comrade Ramachandra Shenoy who succeeded in starting a unit of the Communist Party in Dutch Battery. A deeply political novel that is also the story of a newly independent India.