The novel’s supreme virtue is in its thesis that devolution alone will bring about a turnaround for the evils inflicted on any land and its inhabitants. Also noteworthy in the novel is the role of Father Felix Mullakkattil, the officiating priest of the whitewashed Church of the Virgin Mother at Kalluvayal.
Benyamin weaves a poignant narrative about a taxi driver contemplating robbery, only to be confronted by a passenger’s gripping tale about his own father’s honourable choices as a taxi driver.
Consider this description of a woman’s mental state, as she contemplates her reluctance to lie on a bed that she had slept on alongside a man, in the past. It seemed to her ‘like a thin film of dust that collects on the surface of a table…
The novel’s bedrock is formed by the resilient and formidable friendship between its titular characters; indeed, the bite and brio of this relationship shape and colour every other bond, filial or otherwise, making it one of the great renditions of women’s solidarity in Malayalam literary tradition.