The most popular and influential Marathi novel of the past 20 years that is a bestseller even today, now in a brilliant English translation
Anant Samant’s ‘Aiwa Maru’, is a much acclaimed psychological thriller that has a bold style and a frenetic pace with an unforgettable cast of characters.
Translated by Prashant Pethe
Anant, a young Indian seaman sets out on a hazardous voyage from Hong Kong aboard the M.T. Aiwa Maru-a blacklisted vessel that has been banned from sailing. Although wary of the risks involved in his new assignment, he is mesmerized by the ship. But the terrors of the open sea are not the only perils that beset the multiracial crew of the Aiwa Maru. With the arrival of the Second Engineer’s beautiful young wife Ujjwala, Anant finds himself irresistibly drawn to her even as matters aboard this bewitching vessel spin dangerously out of control.
A cult novel in the original Marathi, Aiwa Maru is a dark and thrilling tale of passion, greed, obsession and adventure.
Anant Samant was born on 12 August 1952 in Arnala, a tiny village near Mumbai. After completing high school he got a diploma in hotel management and catering technology from ICTAN, Mumbai. He worked in various hotels and the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. He joined the merchant navy, worked as a chief steward and navigating officer on tankers, container carriers, bulk carriers, livestock carriers, cargo vessels.
His literature shocked Marathi readers with its bold style and the never-seen-before world it invoked. His first novel M.T. Aiwa Maru was like a fresh wind gushing in to feed the hunger of younger generations. It was immensely acclaimed and won many prizes too. Even after twenty years it is a bestseller and the only novel of its kind in Marathi literature.
Anant Samant has won the Maharashtra Rajya Puraskar four times, the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad thrice, as well as the Yashwantrao Chavan Mukta Vidyapith, the Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh and Na. Si. Phadke Puraskar, among many others.
Prashant Pethe was born in Pune and went out to sea at the age of eighteen, right after high school. Before he went out to sea, a teacher from school tried to dissuade him from doing so by giving him M.T. Aiwa Maru to read. Reading the novel only strengthened Prashant’s determination to become a seaman. During his time out at sea he could never forget Aiwa Maru. His desire to ensure that more people read this novel compelled him to finally translate it.
Prashant produced a couple of Marathi movies in 2007 and 2008. Both movies, Valu: The Wild Bull and The Damned Rain, were very successful locally as well as internationally.