Best Tamil Novels - An amateur look

It's only recently my eyes turned towards reading Tamil Literature and great novel's it has produced that one should must read in his/her life time.  So here i'm with a blog post listing some of the novels that I have read recently and which I highly recommend for those people who are like me yet to turn their eyes towards it. 

I highly thank following websites & it's owners which gave me enough insights and knowledge on Tamil Literature and it's best works.

This is certainly not a review of any of the novel's I have read because I'm simply don't have the qualification to do it :)

1. Ponniyin Selvan (Tamil: பொன்னியின் செல்வன்): The list cannot start without mentioning this novel. And this is my first novel that I started reading and it's a roller coaster journey reading it. This Tamil historical novel written by Kalki Krishnamurthy is written in 5 volumes and narrates the story of Arulmozhivarman (later crowned as Rajaraja Chola), one of the kings of the Chola Dynasty during the 10th-11th century CE period. Recently when I informed my mother that I am reading this, she recollected how during her schooling days, people used to wait in awe to get a copy of 'Kalki" magazine to know what happened next in the story.  It was a great surprise to me that she could still remember many instances of the novel even after so many years.   There are numerous posts / blogs / forums on the net discussing all and everything about this novel.  Though there are many website which has online version of this novel, Well, don't look further, just buy it and keep it as a treasure. 

Popular Director Maniratnam is making a film based on the story of Ponniyin Selvan and I still believe that a 3 hours movie cannot do any justice to this 5 volume novel. This novel is also translated into English as "The son of Ponni" and available in all popular book shops.

More Info here

I also read "Alai Osai" by Kalki online, it's OK but cannot be called his best atleast for me. Other titles of him that are awaiting its turn in my book shelf are "Sivagamiyin Sabadham & Parthiban Kanavu".  Will certainly read it soon as they are classic on it's own. 

2. Vengaiyin Mainthan (வேங்கையின் மைந்தன்): This is my second novel and one of the best from Akilan. This novel talks about the life and achievement of the great Rajendra Chola.  This novel has received the Sakithya Academy Award from Government of India. It has also some characters who appear in Ponniyin selvan (importantly Vandhiyadevan). A must buy for it's racy contents and sweet romance. 

Would plan to buy his other famous novel "Vetrithirunagar" in future. 

More Info here

3. Kadal Pura (கடல் புறா): This is considered as Sandilyan's best. Sandilyan was one of the famous writer of historical background. It has 3 volumes. Believe it or not, after reading Ponniyin Selvan & Vengaiyin Mainthan, I simply couldn't gel with the way the story goes in this novel. It was difficult for me to get going and I had to stop somewhere in the middle in the First Volume itself. I still want to read the rest of the novel and understand why it is considered as best by many. For the moment, it is kept as reserve and would read it sometime in the future for sure.  I think it would take some time for me to get used to his style of writing.  For the moment, I can't recommend it though I accept it is considered as best by many famous critics. 

4. Sriman Sudharsanam (ஸ்ரீமான் சுதர்சனம்): I got to know about Mr. Devan and his famous works and I should thank to this link for that. A completely different Genre and I would recommend this novel too as it very well depicts the life and tribulations of a Middle class man in a very subtle and humorous way.   I am looking forward to read some of his other classics which are ready in my book shelf such as Gomathiyin Kadhalan, Kalyani, Justice Jagannathan, Lakshmi Kataksham & CID Chandru this year. His other classic is "Thuppariyum Sambu" which I did not buy because I have purchased recently the TV version of the same acted by Y. Gee. Mahendra. So I was skeptical to buy it.  I highly recommend his writings.

5. Manudam Vellum (மானுடம் வெல்லும்): Another best novel to know exactly the real history by Mr. Prapanchan. Often the historical novels come up with false background and characters and it would often make the readers think that the kings during those ages are great warriors with kind heart and the people were living under Golden Era. The reality though is something different and this story exactly depicts the same based on the historical evidences. It is very funny & interesting to know the life and tribulations of the people in those days and it is one of the must read novel.  More info of this novel can be found here

"Vaanam Vasappadum", it's sequel which has won Sakhitya Academy award is waiting for my attention next and I plan to read it later this year

6. Pirivom Sandhipom (பிரிவோம் சந்திப்போம்): Sujatha, the name that had got millions of fan's and any recommendation list would not complete without involving his works. I got to read this novel and I would say I was literally spellbound by his writing style in this novel and particularly in the Part I.  This novel is a must read for all the readers and the feelings expressed by the hero of this novel often go with one's own old memories.  

You can find more detailed review of this novel here

7. En Iniya Endhira (என் இனிய இயந்திரா) & Meendum Jeno (மீண்டும் ஜீனோ):  Another's sujatha's classic written in 1980's and the story revolves in futuristic year 2020. It's amazing that he could have such a futuristic view and it's no way match with the movie "Endhiran" and the novel is way way different from the movie also. But I liked the movie also for various other reasons :) Coming back to the novel, I liked Part 1 "En Eniya Endhira" more compared to Part II "Meendum Jeno" but still both are must read and a racy thriller. 

You can find more detailed review of this here

I recently got all the volumes of Sujatha's selected stories (தேர்ந்தெடுத்த சிறுகதைகள்) & Sujatha's selected mini novels (சுஜாதாவின் குறுநாவல்கள்) and I plan to read them one by one in next few months. I am highly looking forward to read them & would give details about them soon.

I also have no patience to get my hands on "Oru Puliyamarathin Kadhai" (ஒரு புளியமரத்தின் கதை) by Sundara Ramasami, "Oru Manidhan Oru Veedu Oru Ulagam" (ஒரு மனிதன் ஒரு வீடு ஒரு உலகம் ) by Jeyakanthan, Adhavan's "en peyar ramaseshan" (என் பெயர் ராமசேஷன்) & Jeyamohan's works (thinking to start with Vishnupuram, but don't know if I could understand it), Janakiraman's "Mogamul", Balakumaran's "Payanigal kavanikavum", "Irumbu kudhiraigal", "Mercury pookal", Ashokamitran's "Thaneer", "18vadhu Atcha kodu", "Ottran", Indira Parthasarathy's "Krishna Krishna" and so on....

This is certainly not the exhaustive list as I have got interest into Tamil Literature only recently and hope to write more posts on this in future. Till then, bye...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

always ponniyin selvan is the best and ever green

Anonymous said...


As said in the post earlier, Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan is ever living book in everyone's mind, who had read it. I would rather add another point, that a Tamil person life can be said half done without reading some books like these. Read them and let authors live immortal in us..

Anonymous said...

Ponniyin Selvan is the worst book ever written.