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The Painter of Signs by R. K. Narayan

The Painter of Signs (1977)

by R. K. Narayan

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Although not as good as the man-eater of malgudi this is still a great book. Beautifully told with a good protagonist who I felt sorry for because of his blindness. Narayan is one of my favourite writers. He writes in a beautiful simple way and his books time-machine me to India. ( )
  Gary_Power | Jul 10, 2016 |
R.K.Narayan surprised me with this novel. Set during the period when the Family Control propagation came into focus, this novel can shock a person as well as realize the depth of the Indian soul. Narayan in this novel tries to go with the times & is very bold in his writing. Infact, the novel involves many themes of the 1970's Indian scenario like birth control, Bollywood, dare devil women etc. Narayan also breaks his initial way of presenting his characters & uses a new technique which is refreshing. The tongue in cheek way in which Narayan analyses the 'birth control' issue is hilarious.

The author has broken down a way of thinking for us, which we have to comprehend as citizens of a nation with a lot of population related issues, as well as a nation which is steeped in what one would call skepticism against modern science. Also, through the eyes of the author, one realises how serious the problem of population explosion was (& is). the drastic & almost weird attempts to rid the masses of the 'evil' of producing more children is taken up very well by the author. He may have gone into more uncomfortable details if it were not for the fact that he was writing a novel in an India which was not yet all that fine with bold literature, though, foreign readers accepted him well. The zeal of the government workers to sterilize the whole of India may seems funny in the novel.....but the dangerous side of the way things turned out is also underlined subtly here in the story via the character of Daisy, the love of Raman who is the actual 'painter of signs'....especially the painter of the popular Family Planning Sign, the red triangle.....we two, our two !

Raman is shown as a person rooted in sexuality & intense passion, quite opposite to his lady love whose only aim in life seems to be, the sterilization of the Indian population. the author even ventures to state the various methods involved in this process, especially forced vasectomy which became very popular during that period of time. The author seems rather preoccupied with this part of Indian history as I've read about a similar story related to forced sterilization in the book 'Malgudi Days'. The author even discloses certain delicate topics in this novel which is quite commendable.

Sexuality is a main ingredient in this modern Narayan book which is presented in a very humorous way, without any hint of hesitation. The comic sexual drive of Raman for Daisy in part 2 of the novel is very comic....a novelty of the 'Grand Old Man Of Malgudi'.

In all, the book is a great read & enjoyable to the core. ( )
1 vote pathan.fiza | Oct 14, 2013 |
It's been a long time since I've read any R K Narayan--one of the superb authors I was introduced to by my favourite uni unit, Post-Colonial Lit. I'd forgotten how good he is. Moving and funny, a really enjoyable read. ( )
  Vivl | Apr 5, 2013 |
Raman, the painter of signs, makes less than he ought to because his aesthetic sense leads him to argue with clients over colors and letter styles, and he’s pretty ineffectual in any situation where there is the least conflict. He lives alone with his aunt, who cooks for him. He fancies himself an intellectual because he reads a few pages of a different book each afternoon before falling asleep. He socializes at a hotel and restaurant ironically called the Boardless—that is, it has no sign.
Then he meets Daisy, the Family Planning Centre missionary, strangely affectless, independent, and determined that no emotion will impede her work. Though so different in temperament, Raman is attracted, follows her into the hills on an austere tour of villages to spread the birth control word, and on the way back he makes a disastrous pass at Daisy. But she shows up at his house some days later, and their romance progresses to the point of a proposal. The aunt goes off on a pilgrimage to the Ganges and holy places, determined not to return.
Then Daisy balks, taking off on missionary work in a region where the birth numbers have risen shockingly the previous year. Raman gets on his bicycle and heads for the Boardless.
Narayan is wonderful with dialogue, capturing the quaint charm of the many speakers of Indian English: “Long time since I saw you, what have you been doing with yourself all along?” The book is set in Narayan’s fictional town of Malgudi, below the Mempi Hills, in 1972 ( )
  michaelm42071 | Sep 6, 2009 |
Really enjoyed this. This is where I've benefited from doing my course - I would never have read anything like this otherwise. It was brilliant and I bought Malgudi Days as a result of reading this. ( )
  judyb65 | Feb 5, 2007 |
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Raman's was the last house in Ellaman Street; a little door on the back wall opened, beyond a stretch of sand, to the river.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039660, Paperback)

For Raman the sign painter, life is a familiar and satisfying routine. A man of simple, rational ways, he lives with his pious aunt and prides himself on his creative work. But all that changes when he meets Daisy, a thrillingly independent young woman who wishes to bring birth control to the area. Hired to create signs for her clinics, Raman finds himself smitten by a love he cannot understand, much less avoid-and soon realizes that life isn't so routine anymore. Set in R. K. Narayan's fictional city of Malgudi, The Painter of Signs is a wry, bittersweet treasure.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:30 -0400)

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