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Malgudi Days by R. K. Narayan

Malgudi Days

by R. K. Narayan

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Reading these stories I realized how much India has changed, but people remain the same. Living in a suburb, I cannot relate to all the characters but there are several that I can identify. He's a true master. ( )
  salvadesswaran | Mar 29, 2013 |
Perhaps the less acquainted one is with India the more impressed one might be by these stories. I can't otherwise explain their popularity. I don't mean that unkindly, they are a wonderful insight into the real India, of town and villages. And yes, they are universal tales of adversity, triumph and despair set on the human scale. Stories of the good and the morally ambiguous that resonate with the reader. But my strongest impression of Narayan here is that he tries too hard to search out the pathos and the moral fable. You can see what he is aiming at. These should be tales of the slightest events that touch a person momentarily, but send ripples out that disturb (and mark their real significance to) the universe - visible to those that make the effort to see, or feel. So that the reader steps forward toward the story and becomes part of the process of telling and listening. But the deftness I'm looking for isn't there, for the most part. Too often these stories seem to shout at the reader. The events and characters are blunt, but that's expected. In short stories, and moral fables, the characters and events are in many ways ciphers - they carry the story and the idea along. My grievance is with the fabric of the stories, the warp and weft. Essentially it's the lack of elaboration, the tone of the story-teller, that I miss in these stories. That said, there are some gems here. And they nearly all relate to stories of cats and dogs. How do I rate this book then? Well, sort the wheat from the chaff, and treasure the gems. ( )
  nandadevi | Jul 11, 2012 |
I really should have read Malgudi Days a long time ago – I’m not sure why I never got around to it. R. K. Narayan is one of India’s most famous writers, and this is a collection of his short stories, set in and around the fictional south Indian town of Malgudi. Most of the stories are slice-of-life, set from the perspective of a variety of people, from poor beggars and food vendors to schoolboys to rich nonagenarians. Some of them are touching, some are humourous, some are ironic, and some just are. They work really well together to describe the various kinds of people that make up a small town in India.

R. K. Narayan’s style of writing is really simple and unpretentious, but every word he writes conveys so much. His characters are all really approachable, and they might even seem simple, but it is my opinion that it’s really hard to do simplicity well, and no one is better at it than Narayan.

Pretty much all of the stories are about a single minor incident that occurs in the protagonist’s life, and how they react to it. A retired security guard receives a letter in the mail and is driven almost insane by the thought of what it might contain. An old gardener has to say goodbye to the house he has worked in for decades. A man takes temporary responsibility for a lost child and dreams about the family he might have had.

One of the most amazing things about Narayan’s writing is how much sympathy he can arouse for almost any character in a couple of paragraphs. His stories are often about very different people, often flawed or annoying, but they’re inevitably lovable, no matter what stupid decisions they make. I often get unreasonably frustrated with characters that have lapses of judgement, so this is truly a remarkable feat.

Originally posted on my blog. ( )
  kgodey | Dec 29, 2011 |
Malgudi Days, written by R.K Narayan, chronicles the lives of people in the fictional town of Malgudi. The stories, which share the lives of everyone from entrepreneurs to beggars, all take place in and near this Indian village. Thus the heart and the soul of that village is on display and we find it is a place where most people are haunted by illiteracy and unemployment. Yet despite the ubiquity of the poor many of the stories come across with humorous good-natured episodes of their lives. Among the stories the reader meets an astrologer, a gatekeeper, and a young man yearning to pass the examinations. There are also animals including a forlorn dog who befriends a blind man and a ferocious tiger (perhaps a hint of Narayan's short novel, A Tiger for Malgudi). Above all there is a pervasive irony that reminded me of other short story stylists from O'Henry to Chekhov and Gogol. More often a character's dreams or expectations do not lead to the results he desires. This keeps the reader guessing as to what the next story will show in the lives of people who become endlessly fascinating, if only for the reason that you have met them before in your own town. In his introduction R. K. Narayan observes that "I can detect Malgudi characters even in New York: for instance, West Twenty-third Street . . possesses every element of Malgudi, with its landmarks and humanity remaining unchanged--"(p 2).
Following publication of this collection, the stories in this book were made into both serials and cinema. Through these tales the author, R.K Narayan, captures the readers' heart with his journey through the village of Malgudi and its' not so unfamiliar denizens. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jun 4, 2011 |
Sweet collection of short stories set in a small South Indian town. A highlight for me was the story about the Astrologer. ( )
  Edith1 | May 31, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039652, Paperback)

Four gems, with new introductions, mark acclaimed Indian writer R. K. Narayan's centennial

Introducing this collection of stories, R. K. Narayan describes how in India "the writer has only to look out of the window to pick up a character and thereby a story." Powerful, magical portraits of all kinds of people, and comprising stories written over almost forty years, Malgudi Days presents Narayan's imaginary city in full color, revealing the essence of India and of human experience.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:37 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Introducing this collection of stories, R. K. Narayan describes how in India "the writer has only to look out the window to pick up a character and thereby a story." Malgudi Days, featuring short fiction written over almost forty years, is the marvelous result. Here Narayan portrays an astrologer, a snake charmer, a postman, a vender of pies and chappatis--all kinds of people, drawn in full color and endearing domestic detail. And under his magician's touch the whole imaginary city of Malgudi springs to Life, revealing the essence of India and of human experience.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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