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Kayar Book Cover.jpg
AuthorThakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
TranslatorN. Sreekantan Nair
PublisherDC Books (Malayalam), Sahitya Akademi (English)
Publication date
Published in English
AwardsJnanpith, Soviet Land Nehru Award, Vayalar Award

Kayar (English: Coir) is a 1978 Malayalam epic novel written by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai. Widely considered as one of the most seminal works in Malayalam literature,[1][2] Kayar received many major literary awards including the Jnanpith, India's highest literary honour.

Plot summary[edit]

Set in Kuttanad, the novel traces the evolution of the central Travancore society from the early 19th century to the mid-twentieth century. It covers more than two centuries of Kerala life, encompassing six generations of characters. The historic transformation of man's relationship with land, as also between man and man, men and women and even man and God, forms the staple theme of Kayar.


The idea of a novel which contains the vignettes of social life in Kerala stayed in the author's mind for many years. "Two hundred and fifty years of Kerala life flowed past my mind's eye. But I needed a form. I could find no help from the Western classics," Thakazhi reminisces. For years he carried the "germ" inside his head. One night, as he lay sleepless in bed, the Mahabharata epic with its episodic structure drifted into his mind as a possibility. The next day he started work on Kayar. It took him three years to complete the book.[3]





  1. ^ G. S. Jayasree (August 3, 2008). "Decolonising the land". The Hindu. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  2. ^ K. Ayyappa Panicker (April 24 - May 7, 1999). "The end of historiography?". Frontline. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  3. ^ Malayalam Literary Survey — Volume 20, Issues 1-21. Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 1998. p. 86.
  4. ^ "Jnanpith laureates". Bharatiya Jnanpith. Retrieved July 2, 2013.

External links[edit]