Chemmeen (Malayalam: ചെമ്മീൻ, cemmīn [t͡ʃemmiːn], lit. prawn) is a Malayalam novel written by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai in 1956. Chemmeen tells the story of the relationship between Karuthamma, the daughter of a Hindu fisherman, and Pareekutti, the son of a Muslim fish wholesaler. The theme of the novel is a myth among the fishermen communities along the coastal Kerala State in the Southern India. The myth is about chastity. If the married fisher woman was adulterous when her husband was in the sea, the Sea Goddess (Kadalamma literally means Mother Sea) would consume him. It is to perpetuate this myth that Thakazhi wrote this novel. It was adapted into a film of same name, which won critical acclaim and commercial success.
Thakazhi made a departure from his a vowed commitment to realism as it appeared in his works till then he brought in a fresh breeze of lyricism and romanticism. The novel acquires the quality of a fable in which life in the fishermen’s community is depicted with great emotional detail. The customs, taboos, beliefs, rituals and the day-to-day business of living through the pain of stark existence come alive magically through Thakazhi’s pen.
Chemmeen won the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, India's second highest literary prize, in 1957.
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