Do you like Tamil movies? Then you should definitely give try reading Tamil novels as well. Let’s take a look at the best tamil books to read before you die.
Tamil novels provide readers with a glimpse into the history of the Tamil people. They are richly detailed and describe tales of romance, love, valor, war, and more.
Tamil novels are now receiving the attention they deserve after the adaptation of Ponniyin Selvan by Mani Ratnam. The readers are eager to explore them.
For far too long, Tamil authors have been underrated and it’s about time we give them the recognition they deserve by reading their best works.
Let’s take a look at some of the best books to read in Tamil.
Best Tamil Books to Read (Updated 2023)
1. Ponniyin Selvan
Ponniyin Selvan was recently adapted into a film with the same name. The novel is written by Kalki Krishnamurthy in the Tamil language. This historical fiction novel tells the tale of the early days of Chola prince Arulmozhivarman.
The novel was done after thorough research. In order to gather information, the author, Kalki Krishnamurthy visited Sri Lanka thrice. The novel has been translated in English as well as Sanskrit. This is considered one of the best Tamil novels.
The novel is divided into 5 volumes:
- Pudhu Vellam (transl. New Floods): 57
- Suzharkaatru (transl. Whirlwind): 53
- Kolai Vaal (transl. Sword of Slaughter): 46
- Manimagudam (transl. The Crown): 46
- Thiyaaga Sigaram (transl. The Pinnacle of Sacrifice): 91
Author: Kalki Krishnamurthy
Year of publication: 1955
Goodreads Rating: 4.59
Genre: Historical, romance, espionage, thriller, fiction
2. Kallikaattu Ithigaasam
Written by Vauramuthu, Kallikaattu Ithigaasam follows the story of a village man, Payathavar. He is a great husband, father, and lover.
He is always there for his family. He is devoted to his birthplace and works hard to be the best guardian possible.
The book examines how migration affects the lives of individuals and how it can negatively impact their lives. This novel was serialized in Ananda Vikatan.
One of the best Tamil books to read, Yavana Rani is a historical novel written by Sandilyan. This title translates to “Greek Queen” in English. It tells the tale of the Commander-in-chief of the Chola Army.
The story is set 2000 years ago. Karikala Chola was one of the greatest kings of Early Cholas and the story takes place during his rule.
Goodreads Rating: 4.2
Genre: Historical Fiction
4. Theeyaga Unnai
Theeyaga Unnai Kanden written by Muthulakshmi Raghavan is one of the most acclaimed Tamil novels.
The novel follows the story of Yamuna and the dilemma she faces when two princes come into her life, one sunny bright and the other dark night.
Whom she will choose? Read this famous Tamil book to know more.
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Penned by Kalki Krishnamurthy, Sivagamiyin Sabatham is a historical novel. The novel is set in 7th-century south India and tells a story that includes various historical events and figures. This created widespread interest in Tamil history.
Various themes such as honour, love, and friendship are prominently displayed throughout the novel. Sivagamiyin Sapatham is the prequel to Parthiban Kanavu, which is also written by Kalki Krishnamurthy.
The story of Chalukya king, Pulakeshin II, besieging Kanchi and Narasimhavarman avenging this by attacking Vatapi, the capital of the Chalukyas, is at the centre of this historical novel. This novel is highly revered as one of the best Tamil novels ever written.
The novel is divided into four parts.
Part 1: Paranjothi’s Journey
Part 2: The Siege of Kanchi
Part 3: The Monk’s Love
Part 4: The Shattered Dream
Author: Kalki Krishnamurthy
Year of publication: 1948
Goodreads Rating: 4.42
6. Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal
Jayakanthan is the author of the novel, Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal. This novel is an expanded version of a short story titled Agnipravesam was written by Jayiakanthan in 1968 with a different ending.
This short story was well-received by readers for its deviation from cultural norms.
The novel is about a girl from a conservative family whose life is changed by a one-night stand. This is a famous tamil book.
This novel was adapted into a Tamil feature film by the same name in 1977. In 2011, it was adapted into a Malayalam television series Chila Nerangalil Chila Manushyar.
Year of publication: 1970
Goodreads Rating: 4.04
7. Kolaiyuthir Kaalam
Kolaiyuthir Kaalam written by Sujatha is a thriller novel. This story features the famous duo Ganesh-Vasanth. Sujatha has written many detective stories with Ganesh and Vasanth as the main characters.
They are an imaginary advocate pair. The story was written in the early ’80s and it revolves around Ganesh and Vasanth and how they solve a property case that involves murders, science, and spirits.
Year of publication: 1981
Goodreads Rating: 4.05
8. Kadal Pura
Kadal Pura written by Sandilyan is a historical novel. The novel is based on the ancient Tamil Chola dynasty when the Chola kingdom invades Srivijaya and Kalinga. This is a work of fiction and one of the best Tamil novels to read.
Year of publication: 1967
Goodreads Rating: 4.14
Genre: Historical novel
9. En Iniya Iyanthira
En Iniya Iyanthira is a science fiction novel by Sujatha. This was written in the 1980s as a series in the popular Tamil magazine Dinamani Kathir. Later the novel was adapted for television and released as a serial on Doordarshan in 1991.
This novel revolves around a dictator who rules India and three rebels, who have had enough of his horrific reign, taking it upon themselves to overthrow him. The trio includes a girl named Neena and a robot dog named Jeeno.
Year of publication: 1980
Goodreads Rating: 4.17
Genre: Historical novel
We hope this article helped you in gaining knowledge about Tamil novels. These are some of the best literary works in the Tamil language, there are many more hidden gems like this. Happy Reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
These are the best Tamil books to read.
- Ponniyin Selvan
- Yavana Rani
- Theeyaga Unnai
- Kallikaattu Ithigaasam
- Sivagamiyin Sapatham
- Kolaiyuthir Kaalam
- Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal
The first novel in the Tamil language was Prathapa Mudaliar Charithram written by Samuel Vedanayagam Pillai. It was written in 1857 and published in 1879. This was a turning point for Tamil literature because, up until this point, all writings had been in poetry form.
Best Tamil Romantic Novel Writers
- Kalki Krishnamurthy
- Perumal Murugan
Famous Tamil Books List
Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal
En Iniya Iyanthira