Ann Marie reads fragments of her dead husband's unfinished book, and the many love letters he sent her, and in them the social and political events of the time. As she ponders the writing and the years that the brilliant Jithendran squandered working for a toy company that makes drum-playing monkeys, the narrative gives way to the sweeping saga of a village by the river Periyar. Grappling with issues of equality, love, caste, religion and politics, Thachanakkara is a microcosm of twentieth-century Kerala. Told through the history of three generations of a feudal Nair family, this sprawling story is reminiscent of the craft of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's A Hundred Years of Solitude and has the scale of Sunil Gangopadhyay's Those Days. A Preface to Man is an artistic meditation on human existence and is a contemporary classic.