Ponniyin Selvan

This is going to be a review of the first ever Tamil novel i read recently and not about a junk tamil movie that got released in 2005. The book turned out to be quite interesting one. I was struck by Kalki’s imagination, it appears as though everything happens right in front of the eyes. His depiction and the way the characters are introduces is awesome. So elaborate in explanation and so poetic in description kalki wins easily in delivering what was intended. The book also gave a great insight into the Tamil Nadu history and about the medeival chozha empire. The book gives a good description about most of the kings, clans and habits that existed during that time period. Kalki makes use of every available opportunity to provide some historical reference. His characters also highlight the practices that was followed during that time. There were places where Kalki changes the history for the sake of the story, but they were acceptable.

The story starts with “Vallavaraiyan Vanthiyathevan” a vanar kulam prince, taking a message from Aditya Karikalan to his sister Kundavai and king. Later the story plunges into the fight for the chozha throne with  unimaginable stories inter wined which keeps you thinking till you complete the end of the story. Believe me even after the story ends, you might be confused about few parts of the book.  He takes you through the city and Kalki explains the history and beauty of the cities through his eyes and thoughts. His job does not end with that and he gets tasks one by one and we are mostly introduced to the characters through him. Just like the cities,  Kalki explains the beauty of the princesses and their nature through Vanthiyathevan eyes. Kalki provides a very very elaborate description about the characters when they are introduced into the story, so that you get a mental picture of the character. That is the strength of the novel. Kalki has the strength to make you like a character or make it detestable. Kalki imagination seems to gone a bit higher whenever the princesses are involved. The comparisons he makes to compare their beauty is unmatchable.  One more interesting character is Azhwarkadiyaan, it is through him Kalki portrays the feud that existed between  shaivaites and vaishnavaites at that time. Vanthiyathevan is the most adorable character in the book  and at times he steals the limelight from the actual “Ponniyin Selvan“. The princesses Kundavai, Vanathi, Poonguzhali and Nandini are lovable. There are many other characters involved in the book who are important in their own aspect, which you will know when you read the book. Once i started reading the first volume, i could not control my curiosity and i kept reading till i completed it. I am planning to read it once again, as i am completely mesmerized by the book. It does deserve a second reading. Also next in line is “Sivakaamiyin Sabatham” and “Parthiban Kanavu” from Kalki.

Suggestion: Better grab a copy instead of searching for online copies. The book is too good to get disappointed and does not cost much also.

9 thoughts on “Ponniyin Selvan

  1. Hi da senthil… I have recently the studied the book after the seeing the comment from subramani (lion) saying i missed to read this book 10 years before.. Even i have heard few people saying good about it.. so thought of studying it and started to read it.. i read first 30-50 pages very slow.. since i didnt read any books for long time… after that i couldnot stop reading it.. my mom thought i got addicted to the book since i was reading it all the time and even whenever i found 10 mins free time.. i used to read it… 🙂 It was a such a great book to read.. writing a comment for this book i wish to do it in pages.. but stopping it rite now 🙂

  2. Forgot to tell da.. After reading this book, i go to know about the Parthiban kanavu and Sivagamin sabatham.. I got Parthiban kanavu and completed the reading in 1 day 🙂 that book is a single volume book but good like ponniyin selvan. parthiban kanavu and sivagamin sabatham has link… and i prefer to read sivagamin sabatham first… but the problem is you will get to know about a suspense character in parthiban kanavu 🙂

  3. True this is one of the greatest books I ever read..
    I still remember some dialogues, though I read it 8 years ago:)
    Also if you have a copy with you please let me know if you can lend it .. I am ready for a second read.. :):)

  4. Ponniyin selvan is one of the greatest novel. It deserves many reading. Being a person from the city which was part of chola country , i enjoy it a lot and i have travelled in the places mentioned in ponniyin selvan and you can find in some of the villages, the heritage. Wonder how did kalki research and find out info abotu them. It is the best novel by kalki. I rate it above sivagamiyin sabatham and parthiban kanavu.

    True once you picked up the novel, you cant resist to keep it down 🙂

  5. Ponniyin Selvan is my all time favorite novel. Your review brings back the wonderful memories of the book. I was crazy with characters Arummozhi varamar and vandiyathevan when i was reading the book. It is one of the most precious gem in the crown of Tamil literature….

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