The R K Narayan Collection

Acknowledged as a member of the triumvirate – along with Raja Rao and Mulk Raj Anand – Narayan was a pioneer writing Indian fiction in English. In today’s world we have many Indian writers who pen their thoughts in English – quite a few are from the Indian diaspora spread far and wide. But Narayan’s days and times were far different – it was tough to write in English and be a commercially viable proposition.

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R K Narayan Postage Stamp and the quintessential small town in South India Malgudi                                     Image Courtesy – Vtradefair

It was Graham Greene who managed to get Narayan published first in England. They shared a warm and cordial relationship and Greene continued to mentor Narayan in many ways. But for this partnership we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the magical world of Malgudi.

Malgudi is a magical world alright – the reader is able to relate it on lines of Holmes in Baker’s street or Bertie Wooster at Drones Club – familiar locales that welcome you with warmth and comfort. You can sit back and relax to be drawn into the affairs of the men – there are rarely any shocks and seldom do they disappoint on account of straying away from their core character.

So various actors take up their roles in Malgudi but certain fixtures are common as if cast in stone. The story would usually figure around a middle or upwardly mobile middle class protagonist based in a small town in South India. Culture and rituals would easily pervade into his lifestyle and yet in many ways the man would have adopted himself to English ways and manners.

Women are usually tradition bound and quite happy to play second fiddle to the menfolk in the conventional sense. But they are not unhappy or devoid of power; they tend to rule at home and occupy themselves with the upbringing of the small children. Every rule has its exceptions so you do have the misadventure of The Dark Room wherein Savitri is badly let down by her husband or you have fire-brand social worker, Daisy in The Painter of Signs.

Narayan did not do much by way of publicity or jockeying for rewards n recognition. He even stayed away from the media. His popularity is attributable to the fine body of work he has accomplished over 6 decades. As a publisher he has also won over the Indian public by reasonably pricing his books – something that was rarely seen otherwise by us.

My review list of his work includes the following :

# Title My Review Link
1 R K Narayan’s ‘Guide’ http://wp.me/p44iYk-1Lz
2 The R K Narayan Collection http://wp.me/p44iYk-1y2
3 R K Narayan’s ‘The Dark Room’ http://wp.me/p44iYk-1z1
4 R K Narayan’s ‘The English Teacher’ http://wp.me/p44iYk-1xT
5 Review of ‘Next Sunday’ by R K Narayan http://wp.me/p44iYk-1oi
6 Review of ‘My Days’ – autobiography of R K Narayan http://wp.me/p44iYk-1nL
7 Review of ‘The Vendor of Sweets’ by R K Narayan http://wp.me/p44iYk-1mY
8 Review of ‘The Man-Eater Of Malgudi’ by R K Narayan http://wp.me/p44iYk-1mp
9 Review of ‘Swami and Friends’ by R K Narayan http://wp.me/p44iYk-1md
10 Review of ‘Mr. Sampath – The Printer of Malgudi’ by R K Narayan http://wp.me/p44iYk-1m2
11 Review of ‘Talkative Man’ by R K Narayan http://wp.me/p44iYk-1ls
12 Review of ‘The Bachelor of Arts’ by R K Narayan http://wp.me/p44iYk-1lb
13 Review of ‘The Financial Expert’ by R K Narayan http://wp.me/p44iYk-1l0
14 Our Man From Malgudi – R K Narayan http://wp.me/p44iYk-1kw
15 Memories of Malgudi … http://wp.me/p44iYk-1hp

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