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About the Author

R. K. Narayan was born Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayanaswami in Madras, India on October 10, 1906. He graduated from Maharaja College of Mysore with a B.A. degree in 1930. He attempted to teach for a bit but then switched to writing full time. His first book, Swami and Friends, was published in show more Britain in 1935. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 30 novels and hundreds of short stories. His other novels included The Bachelor of Arts, The Dark Room, The English Teacher, The Guide, The Financial Expert, The Man Eater of Malgudi, The Vendor of Sweets, and The World of Nagaraj. He was one of the first Indians to write in English and gain international recognition. He received numerous awards including the Padma Bhushan, India's highest prize. He died on May 13, 2001 at the age of 94. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by R. K. Narayan

Malgudi Days (1943) 1,011 copies
The Guide (1958) 957 copies
Swami and Friends (1980) 471 copies
The Painter of Signs (1977) 434 copies
Mahābhārata (R. K. Narayan ed.) (1978) — Editor — 367 copies
The English Teacher (1978) 338 copies
The Financial Expert (1953) 333 copies
The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961) 327 copies
The Vendor of Sweets (1967) 322 copies
A Tiger for Malgudi (1982) 254 copies
The Bachelor of Arts (1937) 243 copies
Waiting for Mahatma (1981) 228 copies
Gods, Demons, and Others (1964) 163 copies
Talkative Man (1986) 134 copies
The World of Nagaraj (1990) 133 copies
My Days (1974) 128 copies
The Dark Room (1978) 121 copies
Tales from Malgudi (1995) 86 copies
Indian Epics Retold (1995) 76 copies
The Abduction of Sita (2006) 74 copies
Malgudi Omnibus (1994) 69 copies
Malgudi Landscapes (1992) 54 copies
Malgudi Adventures (2003) 50 copies
A Town Called Malgudi (1999) 42 copies
Emerald Route (1977) 35 copies
The Writerly Life (2001) 27 copies
More Tales From Malgudi (1997) 26 copies
A Breath of Lucifer (2011) 24 copies
A Horse and Two Goats (1970) 21 copies
Indian Thought: A Miscellany (1997) — Editor — 17 copies
Malgudi: stories (2011) 14 copies
Grateful to Life & Death (1953) 11 copies
Reluctant Guru (1974) 6 copies
Next Sunday 6 copies
Guide (2015) 2 copies
Malgudi Days II (1999) 2 copies
Mysore 2 copies
Malgudi Days I 2 copies
The Saint of Sringeri (1977) 2 copies
The Ramayana 1 copy
MY DAYS 1 copy
Guide 1 copy
Rumah Seberang Jalan (2002) 1 copy
No title 1 copy
Tamil Nadu (1997) 1 copy
VAZHIKAATTI (2009) 1 copy
El venedor de dolços (2011) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Oxford Book of Short Stories (1981) — Contributor — 513 copies
Sudden Fiction International: Sixty Short-Short Stories (1989) — Contributor — 213 copies
Granta 57: India! The Golden Jubilee (1997) — Contributor — 201 copies
The Vintage Book of Modern Indian Literature (2001) — Contributor — 131 copies
The Treasury of English Short Stories (1985) — Contributor — 85 copies
The Literary Ghost: Great Contemporary Ghost Stories (1991) — Contributor — 75 copies
Penguin Book of Indian Ghost Stories (1993) — Contributor — 43 copies
Antaeus No. 75/76, Autumn 1994 - The Final Issue (1994) — Contributor — 32 copies
One World of Literature (1992) — Contributor — 24 copies
Studies in Fiction (1965) — Contributor — 22 copies
Modern Short Stories 2: 1940-1980 (1982) — Contributor — 12 copies
Passages: 24 Modern Indian Stories (Signet Classics) (2009) — Contributor — 10 copies
Guide [1965 film] (1965) — Original novel — 4 copies
Modern Fiction About Schoolteaching: An Anthology (1995) — Contributor — 4 copies
Immortal Stories (2013) — Contributor — 3 copies
Prachtig weer verhalen (1994) — Contributor — 3 copies
Antaeus No. 70, Spring 1993 - Special Fiction Issue (1993) — Contributor — 1 copy


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Common Knowledge



I found this an enjoyable book and seemed to me a metaphysical depiction of dealing with grief and how to come to terms with it.
snash | 7 other reviews | May 8, 2024 |
Hello Young Lovers

Read by Richard Wulf
Length: ~7 hours

It’s always a delight to read Narayan. Malgudi Street, I feel I know it backwards. The vendors, the characters, the food, the little quarrels, the homour. Narayan’s books bring to life the villages and the people of my own favorite country, India.

Waiting for the Mahatma is the tale of Sriran and Bharati, two young people who meet at the beginning of the Indian war for independence. Bharati is passionate and fully committed to the cause. Sriran joins the movement only when he meets Bharati who is campaigning on the streets of his village in southern India.

Bharati will not marry the smitten Syrian until she has Gandhi’s blessing. Syrian is passive and sees the world through bewildered eyes. He’s innocent and seems to be dim-witted, but every now and then he shows spark, but then in the most inappropriate of times. Fortunately much of the time Bharati is around to put him in his place but not always, and when he follows the idea of an older man and tries, against Gandhi’s non-violence decree, to derail a train, he gets himself thrown into prison.

After several years Sryian is freed. It’s another world. Independence has been achieved and there’s the inevitable disorganization. He locates
Bharati who has relocated to Delhi where she lives with other Gandhi followers, caring for children who have been displaced from their families due to the Hindu-Muslim conflict. Gandhi has decreed that the children be given names of flowers, so as not to label them as belonging to any religion, Hindu, Sikh or Muslim, lest they become embroiled in the now bloody conflict. Bharati spins her own cotton, weaves her own cloth. She’s still dedicated to Ghandi and his way of life. Gandhi is busy so the couple must wait patiently for his blessing.

It’s a simple tale elegantly told with love and humor, and the subtle irony one expects from a Narayan story. So much so that the unanticipated ending leaves the reader with a terrible chill.

Narayan is such a beautiful writer. Fortunately he was prolific and his books can be read time over time. They are indeed treasures. Read any you can get your hands on.
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kjuliff | 3 other reviews | Apr 7, 2024 |
With a writing career that spanned two thirds of the 20th century, R K Narayan used to be one of the best-known Indian writers internationally (there were several shelves of his books in our public library when I was growing up), but he’s rather faded off the map recently. As someone who grew up heavily influenced by writers like Thomas Hardy, Arnold Bennett and P G Wodehouse, was promoted by Graham Greene, and who produced dozens of well-made middle-class novels, most of them set in the imaginary South Indian small town of Malgudi, he doesn’t really fit the profile we look for in postcolonial writers, but he was extraordinarily good at what he did, and there seems to be a lot of value in his Balzacian project of chronicling the way Indian small town society fits together.

ThIs recent reprint, with an introduction from that great modern comic storyteller Alexander McCall Smith, brings together three short novels from Narayan’s middle period, all written shortly after Independence.
In Mr Sampath: the printer of Malgudi a young man comes to Malgudi to set up a new, socially-critical weekly magazine. The only printer he can find willing to take on the legal risks is the eccentric Sampath, whose ancient printing plant clearly isn’t quite up to the job, but who somehow gets the magazine going anyway. All goes well until Sampath is distracted by an opportunity to get into the movie business, and chaos ensues as the young editor finds himself scripting a Hindu epic instead of writing columns attacking slum landlords and town officials.
The financial expert, Margayya, is a middleman who when we first meet him is making a good living sitting under a banyan tree outside the Co-operative Land Bank helping farmers to fill in their loan applications. A humiliation makes him determined to rise in the world and make a career for his son, and a few years later he has made it to a city office and is running a wildly successful pyramid scheme, but of course the son isn’t interested in following in his father’s footsteps, and the pyramid collapses…
Waiting for the Mahatma is more directly historical — a young man with no real political convictions is drawn into the Independence campaign after being asked for donations by a pretty girl who turns out to be in Mahatma Gandhi’s entourage. The only way to get close to the girl is to join the movement himself. Narayan cleverly manages to convey both the enormous excitement of the Mahatma’s personal charisma and the difficulty normal humans face in trying to put his radical ideas into practice in their lives.
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2 vote
thorold | 2 other reviews | Mar 25, 2024 |
Small town money lender. Classic Narayan.
ben_r47 | 5 other reviews | Feb 22, 2024 |



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