Press Release Article ‘ASSASSIN’ BY K.R. MEERA

The much-anticipated book ASSASSIN by K.R. Meera has been purchased by HarperCollins India. It will be released in July 2023 in J. Devika’s translation from Malayalam.

Her debut book, Assassin, by K R Meera, is destined to dominate the literary publishing scene in 2023. This novel is about a woman’s struggle for truth, identity, and equity in contemporary India.

A woman who was coming from work late one night in November 2016 survives an attempt on her life made by an unnamed assailant. Middle-aged professional Satyapriya, who lives alone in a huge metropolis, manages to escape unharmed but traumatized. The attack occurs to occur one week after India’s announcement of its demonetization effort and on the anniversary of the hanging of Mahatma Gandhi’s killer.

She learns during a talk with her wheelchair-bound father that this attack was not accidental or random, but rather the most recent in a string of efforts to kill her. And as her father passes away abruptly, Satyapriya is left feeling uneasy about a far bigger plot growing around her. Her quest to learn the truth about her attacker’s identity and motivation sets off a series of events that will force her to face both her own problematic past and the realities of India in the twenty-first century.

A literary thriller that culminates on January 30th, the anniversary of Gandhi’s murder, Assassin considers issues of identity, gender, and power as well as Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy in post-independence India, where caste, power, and money all work together to influence how we live our daily lives.

“K.R. Meera is, of course, one of the most important novelists writing today. Her novel, Hangwoman, was an instant classic, and with Assassin, she has crafted her most urgent and ambitious work to date. Meshing real events with fictional incidents, an engaging plot with biting social commentary, the personal with the political – Assassin is a genre-defying magnum opus that investigates the dangerous times we live in and the roads that led us here. We are hugely excited – and privileged – to be publishing it in J. Devika’s superb translation. It will be one of the highlights of our literary and translations list for the coming year,” says Rahul Soni, Associate Publisher – Literary, HarperCollins India.

Author, K.R. Meera says, ‘I haven’t written any other book relying so much on my own life and times. It is an attempt to chronologize the experiences of a middle-class Indian woman of my generation so as to chronicle our violent voyage as impaired individuals and incomplete citizens, starting from the 1970s, eventually revealing the expand to which our lives have been determined by our fathers’. I dedicate this book to Gauri Lankesh, as it was the lessons from her violent death on the Teacher’s Day of 2017 that triggered this book.’

Translator J. Devika says, ‘In Malayalam, ‘Gandhi’ was used often as a code word to refer to a certain currency note of high denomination—tragically. Because it seemed that the Mahatma was being murdered again and again, each time his name was pressed into soulless market transactions, and many of those involved bribery and other nefarious activities. Meera’s novel is her recollection of the social transformation that happened in her lifetime, and it tells us how the violence symbolized by this everyday murder of Gandhi permeated all spaces and all acts.’


K.R. Meera is a journalist and writer who has won numerous awards. She has written more than a dozen books in Malayalam, including novels, novellas, collections of short stories, essays, and works for young readers. J. Devika translated her book Aaraachaar, which received the Kendra and Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards, as Hangwoman, and it was nominated for the 2016 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. She has also translated The Gospel of Yudas, The Poison of Love, The Unseeing Idol of Light, The Angel’s Beauty Spots, and Yellow Is The Color of Longing.

J. Devika is a Kerala-born professor, author, social critic, and feminist historian. As a Professor, she is currently conducting research and imparting knowledge at the Centre for Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram. She has translated both fiction and non-fiction books between Malayalam and English as a bilingual translator. Among the authors whose works she has translated are K.R. Meera, Sarah Joseph, and Nalini Jameela.

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