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1. A Tiger for Malgudi and The Man-Eater
2. The Financial Expert (Phoenix
3. Malgudi Days (Penguin Classics)
4. The Vendor of Sweets (Penguin
5. The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern
6. The Painter of Signs (Penguin
7. Swami and Friends, The Bachelor
8. Mr Sampath-The Printer of Malgudi,
9. The Guide
10. Under the Banyan Tree and Other
11. The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern
12. The Bachelor of Arts
13. Malgudi Omnibus
14. A Tiger for Malgudi (Classic,
15. Gods, Demons, and Others
16. My Days: An Autobiography
17. The Mahabharata (Penguin Modern
18. The Grandmother's Tale and Selected
19. The Man-eater of Malgudi
20. The English Teacher

1. A Tiger for Malgudi and The Man-Eater of Malgudi (Penguin Classics)
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 368 Pages (2009-07-28)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143105809
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Two comic gems from the father of modern Indian fiction- available in one volume for the first time

These two novels show R. K. Narayan at his best, offering enchanting tales of human absurdity that are also skillfully woven parables infused with Hindu mysticism. A Tiger for Malgudi is told from the point of view of the tiger Raja, now old and toothless, who looks back on his life in the circus and in films, and on his dramatic bid to escape the brutish human world in a quest for freedom. The Man-Eater of Malgudi is the story of Nataraj, a mild-mannered printer who stands up to Vasu, a pugnacious taxidermist, when Vasu begins to covet the beloved temple elephant for his collection. ... Read more

2. The Financial Expert (Phoenix Fiction Series)
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 224 Pages (1999-08-01)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$10.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226568415
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In The Financial Expert, R. K. Narayan once again transports readers to the southern Indian town of Malgudi. This story centers around the life and pursuits of Margayya, a man of many hopes but few resources, who spends his time under the banyan tree offering expert financial advice to those willing to pay for his knowledge. Margayya's rags-to-riches story brings forth the rich imagery of Indian life with the absorbing details and vivid storytelling that are Narayan's trademarks.

"The novels of R. K. Narayan are the best I have read in any language for a long time."--Amit Roy, Daily Telegraph

"The experience of reading one of his novels is . . . comparable to one's first reaction to the great Russian novels: the fresh realization of the common humanity of all peoples."--Margaret Parton, New York Herald Tribune Book Review

"The hardest of all things for a novelist to communicate is the extraordinary ordinariness of most human happiness. . . . Jane Austen, Soseki, Chekhov: a few bring it off. Narayan is one of them."--Francis King, Spectator ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Living in circles, but living
Narayan's beautiful prose deserves special mention. Midway through Part One, the main character, the Financial Expert Margayya, finds himself in the midst of a street melee, assaulted from all sides by "vegetable-sellers, oilmongers, passers-by, cartmen, students - everyone"! A washer woman reprimands him but a lone cyclist lends Margayya his voice. In this short single paragraph we find a miniature reproduction of the whole of Malgudi.

The novel opens with Margayya sittingacross the street from a bank under a banyan tree in the fictional Indian town of Malgudi; he fills out forms for peasants. He works from a wooden box he carries around in which he keeps paper, a quill, and an inkwell.

The bankers object to what they see as his meddling with their clients. They force him to leave and Margayya is left jobless with a wife and child to support. He meets a priest who asks him what he wants; Margayya dreams of riches. Very well then, says the priest. He tells Margayya that he must worship the goddess Lakshmi and perform special rites that will take forty days and use up his last 200 rupees. Margayya does all he is told and soon becomes wealthy. How does not really matter, but let us say great luck favoured a greatly predisposed spirit.

But because he chose the goddess of wealth over the goddess of wisdom, his mind knows no rest. He is not a good father; he is inept rather than cruel or negligent. He spoils his son but then demands too much of him.

As expected, years pass and Margayya's fortunes rise and fall as events finally betray him, for no reason at all... Or rather he loses all through the later effects of the same contingency that brought him wealth in the first place. There is irony and structure in this. Margayya retrieves his old wooden box and returns to the banyan tree, his life having come a full circle.

Has this self-centered unpleasant man learned anything? Would we wish his life for ourselves? It does not matter. He has lived the life he was meant to live, for good or for ill, but he has lived it.

Vincent Poirier, Tokyo

3-0 out of 5 stars Financial Expert Gets His Return on Investment
The Financial Expert By R. K. Narayan.

Set in the mythical town of Malgudi, The Financial Expert is a cautionary tale about the evils of the love of money.Margayva, the protagonist of this tale, is a self-made man who has a knack for taking advantage of the poor rustic souls in his community.He lends easily but not freely, wheedling his neighbors out of their assets.He is entirely unsympathetic as a boorish and petty man, so completely concerned with "status" and appearances that he develops little else.He dotes on his piggish, stroppy son, with predictable results.He is evil to his brother and sister-in-law who live as strangers next door.He is so consumed with acquisition of money that he cannot for a moment enjoy its benefits, either by spending it, or by giving it away.Ultimately, when a Ponzi scheme he has developed fails, he is reduced to his humble origins.

But for the wonderful, illuminating descriptions of the teeming life in that part of world, and, I suspect, clear insight into the small minds and hearts of some bureaucratic types in India, the book would be a disappointment. It is a short book, thankfully, predictable, but not charmless.Three stars and perhaps I am being generous.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful
If you haven't yet discovered the pleasures of R.K. Narayan, I highly recommend The Financial Expert.It is nothing less than a classic.Superbly written, with humorously human characters and a well observed story.We follow the successes and of Margayya, the "financial expert" who lives in Narayan's fictional Malgudi.His story is amusing and entertaining. Narayan is a wonderful writer.Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels from one of my favourite authors.
The book is about the life of an Indian chettiar (money-lender) and on his relationship with his son. Narayan's command of the English language is second to none and yet the book is extremely readable. Although set inIndia, the book will appeal to everyone: it is a good and interestingstory, written in excellent English. ALL IN ALL, A FANTASTIC BOOK !

5-0 out of 5 stars Completely Satisfying.
It is through this book that I began my love affair with Mr. Narayan's writing.His characters are wry and ironic and clear.One is transported and thoroughly engaged.Best of all, Mr. Narayan delivers the heart of astory without the glitter and glare of literary cleverness and intellectualshowing-off.The gift is so simply and honestly packaged that one isamazed and gratified by its depth.

"The Financial Expert" takesplace in the made-up city of Malgudi in southern India.It centers aroundthe life and pursuits of a man named Margaya who daily sits in a publicpark and offers expert advice--to those willing to pay for it--on mattersof financial import.As you follow along, it seems as if Margaya's lifehas finally taken a turn for the better, but in reality all is unraveling. The book is rich in imagery of life in India, and one's ease in absorbingthese details is due to Mr. Narayan's ability to present the unfamiliar insuch a familiar light.

I hope that many more people are lucky enough todiscover Mr. Narayan's work. ... Read more

3. Malgudi Days (Penguin Classics)
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 288 Pages (2006-08-29)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143039652
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic
Having been a fan of malgudi days from childhood, this book was something I always wanted to read. And it din't disappoint. This is a collection of short stories, which depicts simple human emotions which are hard to put into words. Most of the characters are post - independence or early independence period, and bring along a view of inquisitiveness and also innocence(or lack of knowledge).

All I have to say is this, pick it up, and read it. You wont regret it. For people who have no clue about what I just wrote.. go and search for malgudi days videos online( some episodes are in english n some in hindi). Then you will understand

5-0 out of 5 stars Come, Come, Enjoy a Day-Trip to India
Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayan offers the reader a wonderful chance to experience the ordinariness and pleasant magic of life on the Sub-Continent.

This collection of short stories provides an array of vantage points from which the reader can consider Indian life.While meant to be tongue-in-cheek commentaries or light hearted reflections on the social and political realities of India, Narayan doesn't fall short of capturing and relaying a truly authentic feel.

Personally, this book made a wonderful traveling companion as I toured the South of India. The details of the stories were more manifest in the environment around me than in any other part of the country, yet the story themes were in no way constrained by locale.They very much hold auniversal appeal.

If you enjoy the writing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, then you will enjoy the work of R.K. Narayan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Short Stories
R.K Narayan brings to life the people and places as he narrates the story. I would strongly recommend this book for the people interested in Indian culture.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best Indian writers
This book is a collection of short stories written in very simple language. What really makes the difference is the connection it establishes with the readers. Stories are about simple people and simple issues in life. RNK is one of the best authors I have read. He has his own style of writing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Revisiting the old classic.. Nostalgia makes it sweeter
I reread Malgudi days after 20 or so years! It was a delight just as it was when I read them the first time. Only this time; being in the US, made the Characters more endearing! Looking through the mist of time the village with all its sounds sights and smells looked prettier than a real one. This is a book for you all ex-pats to curl up on a snowy winter day with a hot cup of tea (even better if someone makes hot Pakoras to go with!) and enjoy.
To the non-Indian friends, may be a hot coffee and some chicken nuggets (or soy nuggets!) and winter days.
To the couple of readers who were disappointed! Well the whole point behind these stories is to capture the life as it flows. The climax is in the journey itself.
... Read more

4. The Vendor of Sweets (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 144 Pages (1993-06-01)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$12.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 014018550X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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While the colourful sweetmeats are frying in the kitchen, Jagan immerses himself in his copy of the Bhagavad Gita. A widower of firm Gandhian principles, Jagan nonetheless harbours a warm and embarrassed affection for his wastrel son Mali. Yet even Jagan's patience begins to fray when Mali descends on the sleepy city of Malgudi full of modern notions, with a new half-American wife and a grand plan for selling novel-writing machines. From different generations and different cultures, father and son are forced to confront each other, and are taken by surprise ... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazingly well-written and insightful
R.K.Narayan's books offer a wonderfuly detailed and intricate view of the South Indian world,and The Vendor Of Sweets fits into this mould to a T.In this novel,the life of Jagan, the vendor of sweets, and the trials and tribulations of his life are wonderfully captured. What is refreshing, however, is the description of the South Indian way of life that is provided by Narayan--the way Jagan runs his business, the views,opinions he possesses,the fears he entertains.Narayan also vividly portrays the confusions and fears that a person from such a conventional milieu would face when thrown into unconventional situations-- such as having a foreigner for a daughter-in-law, for example. Being a South Indian myself, I can truly appreciate the imagery that his writing evokes, and can also vouchsafe for the fact that it is no easy task to put across to readers whatever he has managed to convey in his books.On the whole,to summarize this review in one sentence:read the book;you will not be disappointed. ... Read more

5. The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic (Penguin Classics)
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 192 Pages (2006-08-29)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143039679
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A sweeping tale of abduction, battle, and courtship played out in a universe of deities and demons, The Ramayana is familiar to virtually every Indian. Although the Sanskrit original was composed by Valmiki around the fourth century BC, poets have produced countless versions in different languages. Here, drawing on the work of an eleventh-century poet called Kamban, Narayan employs the skills of a master novelist to re-create the excitement he found in the original. A luminous saga made accessible to new generations of readers, The Ramayana can be enjoyed for its spiritual wisdom, or as a thrilling tale of ancient conflict. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A delightful tale of adventure and enlightenment, very well told in this shortened and accessible version by Narayan
When the ten-headed Ravana takes advantage of the powers he'd won from the gods, Supreme God Vishnu decides to do something about it.Ravana can't be harmed directly by a god, so Vishnu incarnates himself as the mortal man Rama, who is born as a prince to a great king.Initially unaware of his own divine identity, he meets and falls in love with Sita, who is stolen away from him by Ravana himself after they are exiled from their kingdom due to treachery.He faces down many hazards and destroys many demons, and must in the end join forces with the race of monkey-men, in order to take vengeance and win her back.

If you haven't read this, you owe it to yourself.It's a delightful epic of intrigue and wonder, that's as well known and influential in India and many other places in the world as the Homeric tales or even the Bible have been in the West.It really ought to be more widely known.It can be read and enjoyed on many levels: as a heroic epic, as Hindu scripture, as a great romance.As it is retold in Nina Paley's brilliant Sita Sings The Blues, it is also a story of how men get all the credit as they go off on big adventures and alternate between taking women for granted and behaving jealously.There's a great story in which Rama appears to act rashly, by intervening in the sibling rivalry between monkey kings Vali and Sugreeva, and that story can be read as a vivid ancient contribution to debates on colonialism or the more recently discussed issues of "cosmopolitanism" and "multiculturalism." An excellent retelling of a fascinating epic.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exactly what they say and what I needed
The book is in very good condition and it is readable. If you do not want it new then this is perfect for you

5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging Introduction to a Classic
The Ramayana is a one of the most fabled classics of Indian literature, and though it is not technically a sacred scripture, it is so revered in India and by Indians it almost has the default status of being one.The original texts of the Ramayana are quite immense, and writer R.K. Narayan has condensed the epic down into a quite readable 150 page work.Those who are curious about this Hindu classic, who are first time readers, will probably find it very engaging.While there are alternate versions of this very popular epic, Narayan has selected one he considers most traditional and mainstream, and will be a very worthwhile introduction for a very important book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Epic Indian Epic
Bear in mind that this is a translation of ONE version of the many, many versions of this story. This is roughly like the Indian version of The Odyssey but even Bigger and more pervasive in the Indian world.
A fantastic journey that covers love, action, betrayal, tragedy, and everything in between. The hero Rama can be a bit too perfect at times, but that only helps him to achieve greater feats.

5-0 out of 5 stars CRAZILY GOOD!
I really like this book because It's written in a way that you actually UNDERSTAND it. The beginning has a list of characters in the book with pronunciation so you don't get confused. Fun read for a class. A++ ... Read more

6. The Painter of Signs (Penguin Classics)
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 160 Pages (2006-08-29)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$5.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143039660
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly Simple, Delightfully Beautiful
This is the first book of Narayan's I've read. I read it mainly because Graham Greene, one of my favorite authors, was a long-time proponent of Narayan's works. I fully concur with Greene that Narayan is a nuanced writer who achieves great effect with a few carefully selected words. I see how Greene came to feel that he "knew" India and Indians from reading Narayan's multi-decades stories of the fictional city of Malgudi and its surroundings. Like America's Faulkner, Narayan creates a fully realized place which comes alive to the reader, both in setting and its various characters. I truly believed I was in India around 1973. It is hard not to love Raman, the opinionated sign painter. While it is hard to love Daisy, the westernized birth controlling technocrat, I found the relationship between the two both exotic and mesmorizing.I couldn't put the book down and had to know how his infatuation-turned-love ended. I appreciated how chaste the book is both in its choice of words and description of events. The book is simple yet beautiful. I loved this book so much that I gave it to my daughter to read this summer before she matriculates at college. I now plan on reading Narayan's earlier works.

4-0 out of 5 stars Superb read that has Narayan's ironic signature all over it!
As a big fan of Narayan's collection of short stories "Malgudi Days", I wasn't sure what to expect of this novel. The premise sounded interesting enough, with the jolting of Raman the sign-painter's world with the entrance of a love interest.

All three main characters are interesting in their own ways. The protagonist, Raman, is an utterly sympathetic bachelor who didn't know what he had until he lost it. Daisy, the love interest, is a pig-headedly modern and unbending feminist with a mission to lower the national birth rate. Raman's aunt, an old-fashioned matriarch, is ironically more liberated than the so-called feminist, Daisy, by deciding to finally do what she has always wanted.

As with Narayan's "Malgudi Days", there are so many messages and symbolism in this book. It is interesting that Narayan explores two female characters who are such polar opposites of one another that they are more like caricatures. Nevertheless, this is a great book that warrants another reading with fresh eyes in another few years for mw!

3-0 out of 5 stars A well-crafted non-classic
The Painter of Signs is a good story, and it shows RK Narayan's capacity for wit and irony.The man could write, and it shows.

Yet I must disagree with the notion that The Painter of Signs is anything close to a great novel.We are told that Raman, the main character, is someone who wants to live in the Age of Reason, but we don't see it very much.Oh sure, he tires of his pious Aunt, who attends readings of the great Indian epics at the Temple every night, but that is not about the Age of Reason -- that's a standard intergenerational squabble.Similarly, Daisy, Raman's love, is a very flat character: she appears, she speaks, she does what she does.But we know very little about her.Narayan attempts to let us know her through relating what she tells Raman, but this almost seems like necessary background in order to make the plot move (which it does).In the end, she is a flat character.

I enjoyed the book, and it is a good read, but I find it a strangely muted window into India.As always, Narayan's description of the people and life of Malgudi are terrific and at times laugh-out-loud funny.But if you are looking for fiction that tells you about India, I would suggest first going to The White Tiger, by Arvind Adiga, Salman Rushdie's brilliant Midnight's Children, or even Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, much of which is not about India per se but rather the Indian expatriate community in the United States.Another work that is based on fiction and has been unfortunately overlooked is Jonah Blank's beautiful Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God, a retracing of the Ramayana.

My own view is that one compelling reading of The Painter of Signs is one that Narayan would have abhorred, namely, a political reading.Narayan didn't like critics finding allegories in his books, but I think it works here.Raman is India itself, torn between its rich traditions (the Aunt) and a seductive modernity (Daisy).Narayan does not choose between these two, and he was hardly a defender of traditional India, but a political reading of The Painter of Signs shows him (or the text) cautioning about the embrace of modernity that cannot deliver what it promises -- or what a person might convince himself that it promises if he is infatuated by its appearance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clash of principles and emotions
I read this book years ago but never forgot it. I read it again this week and was in awe of its deceptive simplicity. On the surface, it seems like nothing more than a love story, but then there is Daisy-- the antithesis of a romantic heroine: abrasive, brusque, rigidly obsessed with ideals and principles-- in sum, kind of a bitch. But isn't it always the people who don't fit into our preconceived ideas of what a person should be who drive us to distraction? So it is with Daisy, who is perhaps attractive to Raman because of her near-complete indifference to him; so unlike his aunt; so unlike the tradition-bound life he both loves and longs to escape.

A beautiful, entertaining read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not just a charming travelogue
Narayan's The Painter of Signs is considerably more than a charming travelogue or a narrow slice of provincial Indian life.While giving us all of that and with considerable charm,Narayan creates characters and situations that touch the heart and delve deeply into the essential contradictions of human life.

While some, including Monica Ali, who wrote the informative introduction to the latest edition call Narayan a comic writer, he can more accurately be called a serio-comic one.This book, like many of his novels, has its tragic components.

There is a basic dichotomy within Daisy, the committed family planner and sexually repressive young woman. Similarly, Raman yearns to be a rationalist but finds himself overcome by sexual thoughts.Thus, when the two young people inevitably get together, it creates a hopeless tension that finally destroys their relationship.

The complications of their "modern"love story is played out against the tranquil life of Raman's aunt, who has her act together.This would all seem cheery if we didn't know that the aunt is leaving Malgudi to go to Benares, the holy city, to die, alone, separated from Raman, her surrogate child. (Raman's parents were victims of modern life--killed in a railway accident.)

While the book gives us considerable insight into daily Indian life, it gives us even more into the lives of young people trying to find their way in a world changing before their very eyes.Narayan does not avoid the controversies of the times.Set in the days of Mrs. Gandhi's Emergency,Painter of Signs deals with the contradictory impulses of family planning:to make a good life for some, we deny potential life for others,an ironic opposition almost no one on either side of the issue is willing to confront, probably because it is basically unsolvable. And Narayan sees that.At the end of the book, Daisy is off on her Quixotic quest to limit births;the aunt is deprived of her home; and Raman is left with only his memories of the time with Daisy.He returns to the lesser life of The Boardless and his cronies , and his own business life as a minor artist, a painter of signs.

Narayan has painted for us a very charming and deceptively simple picture of the complexities of Indian and human life. ... Read more

7. Swami and Friends, The Bachelor of Arts, The Dark Room, The English Teacher
by R.K. Narayan
Kindle Edition: 648 Pages (2009-05-29)
list price: US$25.00
Asin: B002BH5HP8
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

R. K. Narayan (1906—2001) witnessed nearly a century of change in his native India and captured it in fiction of uncommon warmth and vibrancy. The four novels collected here, all written during British rule, bring colonial India into intimate focus through the narrative gifts of this master of literary realism.

Swami and Friends introduces us to Narayan’s beloved fictional town of Malgudi, where ten-year-old Swaminathan’s excitement about his country’s initial stirrings for independence competes with his ardor for cricket and all other things British. The Bachelor of Arts is a poignant coming-of-age novel about a young man flush with first love, but whose freedom to pursue it is hindered by the fixed ideas of his traditional Hindu family. In The Dark Room, Narayan’s portrait of aggrieved domesticity, the docile and obedient Savitri, like many Malgudi women, is torn between submitting to her husband’s humiliations and trying to escape them. The title character in The English Teacher, Narayan’s most autobiographical novel, searches for meaning when the death of his young wife deprives him of his greatest source of happiness.

These pioneering novels, luminous in their detail and refreshingly free of artifice, are a gift to twentieth-century literature.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Journey to Malgudi - and be prepared to stay a while.
This book contains four novellas. In reality it is 2400 pages in only 600. While many writers take twenty pages to write what should have taken up no more than ten, Narayan took those ten pages and wrote them better in five.

He draws you into the world of his characters so quickly and thoroughly you are amazed that so much was told in such a small space. Each of these four novellas take place in Malguti, a fictional town in South India. Narayan wrote these in the 1930's and 40's, While it would be helpful to have some knowledge of the India at that time, it isn't required to enjoy his writing. This Everyman's Library edition has a time line of his career along with world and literary events for each time period. This was most helpful as an introduction to Narayan's works.

Swami and Friends: This is an example of "boys will be boys" no matter where they live. They can be studious or laggard; helpful or cruel; friendly or surly; humble or haughty or all at the same time. As I read this I kept thinking of the "Little Rascals". Those of you too young to know about them (aka "Our Gang") owe it to yourself to try to find copies to watch.

Swami is an underachiever who lacks self-confidence and tries to get it vicariously from his friends. This is both an amusing and moving novella. Like so many of us in youth, Swami, to others, is so ignorant; but to himself his brilliance knows no bounds. He is a master at rationalizing his actions, yet so in need of love and support.

The Bachelor of Arts: Young men will also be young men. We journey with Chandran from college (What do I want to do when I grow up?) to after (I've grown up! What am I going to do?). There's love and disappointment. There's hope and disillusionment. There's growing up for real and ???.

This is more serious than the first novella. Narayan lets us see into the mind of Chandran as he battles with himself to find his place. Malgudi may be fictional but it is truly part of the real world.

The Dark Room: Middle-aged men will be idiots. Middle-aged women will be ... perfect of course (I'm not that dumb). This is about "He who rules the castle and all in it." vs "She who wants a life (or does she?)." I did not like this as much as the other three. It is very stereotyped but the writing is still great.

The English Teacher: I so wanted the protagonist to be an old man to continue the progression. It was not to be. Our hero this time is a teacher and want-to-be poet. Looking for his place in life, following family tragedy, he ventures away from the norm to try the new. This one is said to be somewhat autobiographical and is very moving.

In looking back on the four, the first and last are my favorites. The characters are drawn from life and placed in real world situations. Narayan's concise style continues throughout and draws the reader in to Malgudi. Fortunately there are many more that follow for me to read.
... Read more

8. Mr Sampath-The Printer of Malgudi, The Financial Expert, Waiting for the Mahatma
by R. K. Narayan
Kindle Edition: 616 Pages (2009-07-22)
list price: US$25.00
Asin: B002IPZJU6
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

In the novels of R. K. Narayan (1906-2001), the forefather of modern Indian fiction, human-scale hopes and epiphanies express the promise of a nation as it awakens to its place in the world. The three novels brought together in this volume, all written after India’s independence, are masterpieces of social comedy, rich in local color and abounding in affectionate humor and generosity of spirit.

Mr. Sampath–The Printer of Malgudi is the story of a businessman who adapts to the collapse of his weekly newspaper by shifting to screenplays, only to have the glamour of it all go to his head. In The Financial Expert, a man of many hopes but few resources spends his time under a banyan tree dispensing financial advice to those willing to pay for his knowledge. In Waiting for the Mahatma, a young drifter meets the most beautiful girl he has ever seen–an adherent of Mahatma Gandhi–and commits himself to Gandhi’s Quit India campaign, a decision that will test the integrity of his ideals against the strength of his passions.

As charming as they are compassionate, these novels provide an indelible portrait of India in the twentieth century.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Introducing Narayan's Malgudi
The three novels gathered in this omnibus edition make an excellent introduction to the works of Indian writer R.K. Narayan. The novels all take place in the fictional Indian city of Malgudi. They each offer a mix of wisdom, comedy, pathos, tragedy, romance, and action.

"Mr. Sampath" is a coming-of-age novel but one with a particular Indian twist. The main character Srinivas is sensitive but immature, but he isn't lost or even dissatisfied. He needs to be prodded unto the path towards manhood by his elder brother. Maturity is acceptance of one's lot but by participating actively in the world around us.
(Full review: http://www.amazon.com/review/RTLQDSWW758JX/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm )

"The Financial Expert" is a comic novel about an unsympathetic swindler who is nevertheless mature and wise in his own way. We might not like him but it's difficult not to empathize and understand him.
(Full review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R13JRCPQAS18D3/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm )

"Waiting for the Mahatma" is a modern historical novel of India achieving independence. Narayan wrote it soon after the events and Indian history serves as a backdrop to the story of a young couple in love; they in turn can be seen as symbolizing India and the Mahatma. Narayan paints an intimate portrait of India rather than an epic canvas.
(Full review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2ZKYGNE4CQQBY/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm )

This is a gorgeous edition by the way. Cloth bound hardcover book printed on acid free paper and with a bookmark ribbon attached. It feels good to hold and smells nice.

Vincent Poirier, Tokyo

Links to separate editions of each novel:
Mr. Sampath: The Printer of Malgudi
The Financial Expert (Phoenix Fiction Series)
Waiting for Mahatma

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best writers
.R K Narayan provides the most complete view of the Indian soul to the outsider, with his many novel all set in the town off Malgudi. Admired by Graham Greene , I am sure youwill enjoy this collection of the novels by one of my favorite authors and an excellent introduction. ... Read more

9. The Guide
by R. K Narayan
 Hardcover: 220 Pages (1958)

Asin: B0007ECBX8
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Raju's first stop after his release from prison is the barber's shop. Then he decides to take refuge in an abandoned temple. Raju used to be India's most corrupt tourist guide - but now a peasant mistakes him for a holy man. Gradually, he begins to play the part. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary novel
First published in 1958, The Guide is a timeless story of reluctant redemption. The chapters alternate between the life of an Indian rogue before and after his prison sentence.

Son of small-time shopkeeper, Raju is a silver-tongued go-getter from his youth. He runs a shop at the railway station, while also guiding tourists around the local sights. One fateful day, he serves as guide to the beautiful dancer Rosie and her scholarly husband - and his life slowly but surely spins out of control.

Raju falls prey to his own character defects, as much as to Rosie's charms. Always ready to guide others, he's perpetually losing his own way.

Raju's tentative grip on morality, and reality, eventually lands him in prison. After his release, resting cross-legged by an ancient shrine he attracts the attention of a villager who takes him for a holy man.

An incurable people-pleaser, Raju obligingly becomes a guide to souls. But sainthood turns out to be a deep and dangerous role that may just consume him.

This is just a bare hint at the storyline, which is often funny, sometimes painful, and always thought provoking. Narayan shows tremendous insight into the psychology of love and self-love. I highly recommend The Guide as an enchanting tale of one man's journey through the world of illusion.

5-0 out of 5 stars A truly enjoyable book
The Guide is yet another brilliant novel from R K Narayan.He draws the reader into his stories with the simplicity of his writing technique, and succeeds in bringing his characters to life.We live in the world he has created from the opening line to the closing word.
I would recommend The Guide to anyone who appreciates quality writing as it is truly an enjoyable book.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Guide, an interesting journey into self-delusion
R.K. Narayan's novel, The Guide, written in 1958, is recognised as one of the author's best. (It's selected within a collection of "1000 books to read during your lifetime" collection which some French publishers were selling over Christmas). It tells the story of Raju, whose father was lucky to own a shop near a spot where a railway station was going to be built. Raju was then a boy who enjoyed his life outside, and when the tracks and station were built, the shop in the station was entrusted to his father. The boy soon started helping him, pleased at not having to be sent to school any more. But the father died accidentally, and Raju who must have been 12 or so, took over, and over the years cleverly understood the interest of the railway, because not only did he see the importance of the shop for travellers, but also that of the travellers' needs. He became a tourist guide, and is so keen and scruple-free that his business flourishes.

Then comes the day when a special tourist arrives in Malgudi (Narayan's fictitious pet town situated in the South): he's a historian, a lover of old inscriptions and engravings. He wants Raju to take him to some caves in the mountains where archaeological treasures have to be surveyed. Along with him is Raju's destiny, in the form of his wife, Rosie. She's as different from him as Raju's quick practicality is from old stone inscriptions. The husband, called Marco by Raju (because of some connection with Marco Polo the discoverer) is a bespectaled intellectual who seems to drag his wife around like so much baggage. She's an educated young woman, but belonging to a caste of dancers which condemns her to accepting whatever her husband decides for her. Among which, no dance. When she meets Raju, who is staggered by her beauty and dancing skills, he quickly enters her life, and looks at her in a way that wins her over to him, in spite of her wife's principles. In fact, the trio settles in the mountain, near the caves, even if it means for Raju to leave his shop and guide business unattended.

A story of self-deception begins. Narayan suggests that Raju has been bitten by the "snake-lady", has been bewitched, and that in his mind, instead of the astute self-made money-maker, a "saithan" now rules supreme. He cannot leave Rosie, who makes him lose appetite for everything except her. Classic situation indeed. Of course, in time the husband gets to know about the liaison, and sends Raju away, with Rosie concurring. A month elapses, and one morning she arrives at his little hut where he lives with his mother. This time, it's as if she's been thrown out. I pass some events, but their life together, fragile as it is in middle-century India, prospers because Raju's flair for business surfaces again; he manages to turn Rosie into a traditional dance diva, and acting as her impresario, soon reaches a style of living which he had never before attained. But there's something wrong in their enterprise. Raju has big debts, a distant enemy in the shape of Marco who hasn't divorced Rosie, and a habit of spending, lying and procrastinating which the reader understands will lead to his downfall.

This would all be rather banal, if the structure of the novel wasn't in fact quite different from the way I have told the story. We start with a forlorn Raju who has just left prison, and is resting on the steps of some abandoned temple, when a peasant stops by, and starts conversing with him. Narayan hints that, perhaps of his "disciple-like nature", he mistakes Raju for the temple-priest, and little by little the aimless and hungry Raju is looked after. The chapter closes and we are plunged into his old life near the future railway. One more chapter, and we come back to the temple, and Raju's increasing success as adviser, sage and eventually swami, when a drought threatens, the villagers believe he might help them though prayer and fasting to bring the rain.

Naturally, because the book is called The guide, the reader is quickly led to make the link between the various meanings of the word: tourist guide, spiritual guide. And when Raju watches Rosie and encourages her (even if with mixed intentions), one might say he's a guide there too, because he does indeed guide her towards her self-fulfilment. The problem of the book is what to make of the reflection about this guide figure. Raju is evidently not a guide in the sense of a political or moral guide who leads a community towards his destiny. Everything he does is self-centred. He guides people, but with his own interest in mind all the time. R.K. Narayan is making a satirical point here: the guide that people look up to is himself the one most in need of a guide. This is clear when Raju reflects upon what his friend Gaffur the taxi-driver advises him: to leave Rosie and all the stress connected with the false situation he has let himself enslaved by, and go back to his old joyful, carefree life. Raju says that, at the time, this was excellent advice, but he also that he was incapable of following it.

In fact he is constantly running away from his responsibilities. For example when he knows he has all those debts, and prefers taking a cheap lawyer rather than face the problems, and go through the uncomfortable but real world of responsibility. As a lover also, he lives from day to day, never wondering who the person he shares his life is, really is. He has drunk her blood, so to speak, gorged on her, but he's lived with a stranger. Even when he decides at the end to go ahead with the abhorred fast to bring back the rains, as the crowds of villagers have asked him, he adopts an attitude which he hopes will make the decision forgetful:
"With a sort of vindictive resolution he told himself "I'll chase away all thought of food. For the next ten days, I'll eradicate all thoughts of tongue and stomach from my mind". The resolution gave him a particular strength..."
But then something he had perhaps not foreseen happens:
"He developed on those lines: "if by avoiding food I should help the trees bloom, and the grass grow, why not do it thoroughly?" For the first time in his life, he was making an earnest effort; for the first time he was learning the thrill of full application, outside money and love; for the first time he was doing a thing in which he was not personally interesting." (p. 188-89)

So the question is: is this salvation? Has Raju learnt the lesson? Has he finally passed on the other side, where selfishness yields to selflessness? Have circumstances been his master, and has he found the guide he had been needing all his life? If the answer is yes, then the book is a moral or religious parable, telling us that there is a meaning, a balance of right or wrong on earth, no matter how ill-advised men live, their dharma will one day be forced on them. But if it's no, then everything must be considered maya, illusion, and life on earth is one big farce. I would personally opt for the second solution, because nothing really in the book prepares us for salvation. On the contrary, RK Narayan stresses continuously his character's thoughtlessness. No salvation for Raju then, as far as I'm concerned, in spite of the quotation above which one can read as the statement of his punishment.

But on the other hand, what the book might be saying is "something" (or somebody) guides the guide. Thanks to Raju, Rosie has found her way. Thanks to his love and determination (even though self-interested), she has been given a freedom she probably would never have been given otherwise. It is just that Raju is punished the way he is, and just that Rosie is freed. Destiny (or the order of things) has utilised Raju as an instrument of liberation for her, and has punished him for his self-centredness. In that respect, the title "The guide" might well refer, not to Raju, but to this other Guide above, which uses our human choices in order to make his own justice come to fruition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Evolution
The Guide is like a weaving.It is intertwined, deep, and rich.In it you will see the amazing way human lives can evolve.

5-0 out of 5 stars Are we creators or merely reactors?
N.K. Narayan's The Guide, for which he won the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy, his country's highest literary honor, is a deep yet wryly humorous examination of the frailties of humans and the meaning and consequences of our actions. The main question seems to be, "Are we creators of our own destinies, or are we mere reactors to the people and circumstances which surround us? And, furthermore, does it really matter, in the end, why we do what we do? Or is the final result the only thing that matters?" What more important inquiry can there be? An entire philosopy course could be taught using this wonderful book as the basis. ... Read more

10. Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories (Penguin Modern Classics)
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 208 Pages (2001-10-25)
list price: US$17.39 -- used & new: US$14.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0141186216
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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This is an enchanting collection from India's foremost storyteller, rich in wry, warmly observed characters from every walk of Indian life - merchants, beggars, herdsmen, rogues - all of whose lives are microcosms of the human experience. Like Nambi in the title story, Narayan has the mesmeric ability to spellbind his audience. This he achieves with a masterful combination of economy and rhythm, creating haunting images and a variety of settings to evoke a unique paradox of reality and folklore. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Try a Narayan Short Story for Yourself
'Under the Banyan Tree', a collection of 28 short stories published late in R.J. Narayan's career in 1985, demonstrates the warmth, humor, and simplicity that made him so beloved. The tales are set in and around fictional Malgudi and include a number of stories featuring the Talkative Man.

Narayan's works are sometimes criticized by the literati - but see also a 2001 New York Review of Books essay titled 'The Great Narayan' by Pankaj Mishra. Pick up 'Under the Banyan Tree', read a short story, and make up your own mind. I think you'll be warmly rewarded.

4-0 out of 5 stars great yet simple
Narayan was a great writer. I like best ths storytitled "anamalai", "Breath of Lucifer" and of course "Under the banyan tree" itself. Some of those short stories areso easy to understand, some are so deep, so i have to read it carefully toget the skillfully written rethorics. It's a classics, worth buying andkept for lifetime.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enchanting like "Malgudi Days"
This bookis in the same mold as "Malgudi Days". Some stories ,like the title story & "Dodu" are puregems. I read and re-read this book and still found them as fresh.The characters ,thesituations are so real that one wonders whether the author picked them outof his own experiences. ... Read more

11. The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 192 Pages (2000-10-15)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226568229
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Growing from an oral tradition of ballads based on historic events in India, the Mahabharata was passed down and extended through the centuries, becoming the longest poem ever written. R. K. Narayan provides a superb rendition in an abbreviated and elegant retelling of this great epic.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for newbie
I'm taking a Religion class specified in Hinduism. I myself has never been exposed to the material before, and this book definitely makes it interesting, helpful and very easy to understand for newbies like me. Recommend for beginners.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mahabharata for the busy folks
R K Narayan has a way of telling stories that is very earthy and simple. Malgudi days and Swamy were a favorite of mine as a kid; so when I saw "The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic - R K Narayan" in my fav store, I had to get it.

This book is a highly condensed and compressed form of Mahabharata; so compressed that the soul of the epic has perhaps gotten lost in the process. However, that is the only way the author could have explained it in 180 or so pages (with 18 parvas and 100K+ verses the Mahabharata is by no means a quick read). Moreover it is not just a literary masterpiece but contains the 'song of the lord', the Bhagavad Gita. The philosophical part is intentionally left out here and rightly so because a shortened version can never quite convey the right meaning. R K Narayan's focus here is purely on the story and he says, "Although this epic is a treasure house of varied interests, my own preference is the story". He has given an outline of the story admirably well.

If you looking to understand the gist of the epic and a peek into the vedic philosophy you would be better of finding another version. But if your objective is to quickly get an overview of the story, the characters and the main events, then this book, I think, would suit you fairly well. An overview of the story is indeed the intention of this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars A little "too abridged"?
Having just been mesmerized by my exposure to Indian literature through Ramesh Menon's outstanding version of the Ramayana, I looked to continue my journey through this corner of the literary world by reading the Mahabharata.Unlike the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita (which I intend to read next), no version of this tale jumped out at me on my perusal through Amazon reviews.I decided to give Narayan's version a shot due to name recognition and popularity.Having just finished the tale, I have mixed emotions.On the one hand, I found the story itself to be interesting and Narayan's prose to be quite readable; on the other, I felt like I just scratched the surface of this great tale.I typically avoid abridgments, and should've known better than to think that an epic could be reduced to a mere 190-some pages, but I was truly disappointed by the abbreviated nature of this version.After relishing the richness of Menon's Ramayana, I felt like this version captured neither the rich grandeur needed to appreciate the scale of the epic nor gave the attention necessary to allow the reader to dwell on the deeper philosophical points.Because unlike the Ramayana, which was truly an archetypal "good versus evil" struggle, the Mahabharata is full of interesting moral wrinkles because it keeps the battle in the family.Brother fights brother and protege fights mentor, as several generations of this family are involved.Although the Kauravas (and Duryodhana in particular) are cast as the instigator and oppressor, I cannot fully disagree when Duryodhana gives his side of the story or when Yudhistira has his misgivings both before and after the war.Most emotionally and philosophically poignant are the doubts of the stoic and brave Arjuna as the families are at the brink of war.More so than the battle itself it was these moral and philosophical issues that I found most interesting.

Fortunately, it is my understanding that the conversation between Arjuna and Krishna (which consists of only a paragraph or two in this version of the Mahabharata) comprises the bulk of the Bhagavad Gita, which I am immensely excited to read next.As for the Mahabharata itself, Narayan's version gave me a bare bones introduction ... but I will need to revisit this tale through a different version to truly feel well-versed in the epic.As other reviews state, read Narayan for a very basic introduction to the story.However, overall it felt a little "too abridged" to do either the story or the moral underpinnings of the story the justice they deserve.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully presented
The story itself in timeless. Not enough good can be said about it.

As for this traslation, Narayan is a literay god. This presentation of the famous indian epic is very well accomplished and is a credit to the story. I have read many english versions of the Mahabharata,(the few that exist) and most are nearly unreadable.

This edition is accesable to the masses and still nuanced enough for the critically minded. Highly recomended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't buy it! It's all in Sanskrit! No, I'm just kidding.
This is actually in English and is a pretty good book. I mean, these old epics tend to get wordy and lose the story, because the writers at the time had no knowledge of storytelling but just wanted to impart rules and ideas to the people who read the book. The author cuts a lot of that out, meaning it's shortened down into a very readable piece. ... Read more

12. The Bachelor of Arts
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 272 Pages (2000-08-03)
list price: US$14.45
Isbn: 0099282240
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Chandran is a good-natured, popular, rather dreamy student who works hard to pass his exams. Newly graduated, he is unsure how he wants to spend his future. And then, one evening, walking by the river, he sees Malathi, a beautiful young girl dressed in a radiant green sari, but the course of love does not run smoothly. Not all is well in Chandran's horoscope and while some customs can be forgotten, others must be strictly observed: customs that temporarily cause Chandran to turn his back on the legendary Malgudi altogether. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars The education of a melancholy bachelor
"The Bachelor of Arts" is the second of a thematic trilogy that begins with "Swami and Friends" and ends with "The English Teacher"--three novels that collectively take their characters from the innocence of youth through the disappointment of love to life's first tragedy. Yet this tale of Chandran, a college graduate unlucky in love, is (as Graham Greene notes in his introduction) "a funny and happy book" at its core--particularly when compared to Narayan's later melancholy, tragic books--yet a closer reading shows us the "shadow [that] had been there from the beginning."

The first part of "Bachelor" is an unexpected treat: a farcical, satirical look at the sillier, exhausting rituals of academic life in colonial India. The opening scene features a debate on whether "historians should be slaughtered first"--and Chandran, a history student himself, is required to argue in the affirmative. From there, our poor student is appointed by his professor as secretary of the school's new Historical Association, an honor that adds to his duties but hardly helps his studies. In between, he frequents the cinema with his best friend and dutifully maps out a grand plan for exam preparation--a plan that is revised daily due to the impossibility of following it.

The debate society, his friends, his academic career--all has been poor preparation for life's setbacks. ("The classroom or the club or the office created friendships. When the circumstances changed the relations, too, snapped.") The giddiness of the novel takes a sharp turn when the circumstances do change: Chandran falls in love at first sight and is rejected, causing him to cast aside the comforts of life and to leave home. The rest of the novel follows our Bachelor of Arts (still a bachelor in life) as he educates himself about the one subject neglected during his collegiate career: himself. It's such a simple and simply told story, but it illustrates beautifully the complexities of finding one's place in the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Young and educated in South Asia
A very pleasant and interesting look at the life of a young man in South Asia.Only moderately engaged by his studies at the university, Chandran spends most of his time going to movies, staying out late, drinking at the café, and generally socializing with his friends.With some prodding from his father, he overcomes his laziness sufficiently to graduate, only to find his problems just beginning.

Chandran's predicament should be very familiar to many readers.Bright and charismatic, but lacking any real focus, he has difficulty finding employment.Upon graduation his peer group separates, and he needs to make new friends.And his parents, who are only eager to see him make something of himself, can't help but find fault with his carefree, unproductive lifestyle.What's a Bachelor of Arts to do?His unrequited love for a young girl named Malathi makes for an interesting look at how courting was handled in traditional Indian families not so many decades ago, complete with horoscopes and dowries and class consciousness.But ultimately, isn't it the couples' willingness to commit to each other that matters, and not how they happen to meet?Every bit as fascinating is Chandran's sojourn as an ascetic, which is reminiscent of a Hermann Hesse novel, but with a uniquely critical perspective that only a native Indian could provide.

Narayan's prose has a warm serenity that never fails to evoke small-town South Asia.What his plots lack in excitement and intensity, they make up for in geniality.This particular novel has perhaps a little more excitement than some of the others, and would be a good entry point for young people just discovering Narayan.

5-0 out of 5 stars A young man finding his place in India
I could identify with the main character as he completed his studies and began moving into the 'real' world.His spiritual journey, though not complete at the books end, was very interesting.The (paraphrased) line "they thought they were the first of their type and the last..", referring to his radical friends from his university days,struck a chord.We all slowly realize that our own well-used mold was indeed not broken after they made us.More followed.Alas, we all take our place in society and make the best of it.

Simply written and easy to read.I recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Its good... as always
I have read and liked R K Narayan's works in the past. I picked this one up just based on the fact that it was written by him. It was not recommended to me by anyone. And honestly i am so glad i did.
The main character is a student just out of undergrad and facing the decision of what ahead. In a very straight and simple manner Narayan portrays the character's struggles with choosing a career and then his foray into love. Its simple and yet extraordinary. BTW for those expecting a dramatic ending, don't. This book just ends. I had to turn the page to realise its finished :-)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
The story of Chandran, a final-year student of History, on how love tranforms ambitions, alters goals and changes lives is the theme of this wonderful book.

Written masterfully with just the right amounts of comedy, emotions and twists, and teeming with sarcasm characteristic of Narayan, this book takes a broad look at values and customs. For example, the long scenes wheres discussion about horoscopes and Chandran's disagreement with his mother are all so very close to life in India.

A great book, an excellent read.... ... Read more

13. Malgudi Omnibus
by R K Narayan
Paperback: 480 Pages (1994-08-30)

Isbn: 0749396040
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14. A Tiger for Malgudi (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 160 Pages (1994-10-01)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$11.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140185453
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A venerable tiger looks back over his life from cubhood and early days roaming wild in the jungle. Trapped into a miserable circus career he is then sold into films (co-starring with a Tarzan) until, finding the human world too brutish and bewildering, he makes a dramatic bid for freedom. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great For Young People
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal a book reviewer responded to a person asking for genuinely funny books, and the reviewer's answer was that what is humorous to some is not so humorous to others."A Tiger for Malgudi" is a case in point.Another reviewer here says that they laughed out loud in some parts, but in what is arguably the funniest scene, where the tiger is holed up in a headmaster's office as the villagers argue and try to decide who will resolve the situation, I couldn't find it all that funny.True to life, absolutely; funny, not so much.This book is touted as being as funny as Evelyn Waugh's work -- it's even billed as a comedy -- but I think that's nonsense.What I would say is, this is a book for young people -- I'd target the smart set in the 6th through 9th grade -- who might want to learn easily about Indian hermits and Indian religion, and maybe have a good time seeing the foibles of humankind thrown into the bargain.The book is short but well-constructed and has a terrific ending that makes you want to go back and re-read the first three paragraphs.Those who have already gotten a grounding in Indian mysticism and are already comfortable with the notion that tigers may be capable of cogent thought won't find too much new here to chew on.May I also suggest that the author's Introduction is a spoiler if ever there was one?Read the Introduction last.

5-0 out of 5 stars Splendid piece of work
This book is a gem, it has very witty sentence structures that make you laugh out loud. It equally articulates the many phases that man goes through in life very aptly, using the tiger as a fine metaphor.A treasure that you can revisit and pass on from one generation to the next. For me it's R.K. Narayan's most profound book- indeed one must have lived fully, in order to write it down this succintly.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Folkloric Imagination
I have always loved this book, and it prompted me to read all of R.K. Narayan's books, though to be honest, it is not his masterpiece (that would be either The Guide, Malgudi Days as a whole, or The Financial Expert).Yet this book does capture a sense of Narayan's unique genius, his ability to write myth and folkore as a living force that can exist side by side with cars, film crews, and the entire panoply of modern India.

I taught this book in a Freshman Composition course, and the students were rather divided on its merits.Some found it too "simple," having trouble accepting a book that begins as the memoirs of a captive tiger (which Narayan is at no great pains to keep intact), only to jump off to other narratives and points of view.The key to keep in mind is that Narayan is writing this book from the tradition of folklore and myth, where tigers can talk--yet are not bound by our ponderous modern notions of "realism."Indeed, though a modern work, many of the characters and situations in this book seem lifted out of folklore, as brilliant translated and realized by Narayan (much as he retold the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and others).On the surface, it is a simple story, well-told, yet has powerful undercurrents, particularly on the purpose of one's life, and the contradictions of each "path" we choose.The relationship of the Raja with the holy man is brilliant, particularly as Narayan allows us to see the messiness of cutting one's self off to follow a path of individual salvation.

A short book, but one that I return to often.To truly enjoy it, it's important not to impose a Western perspective on it, or even look for "novelistic" elements in the narrative.Simply read it and let yourself fall into Narayan's folkloric world, which exist as much here as in some enchanted world at the beginning of history.

Did I mention the book is often hilarious as well?

5-0 out of 5 stars The Book You've Been Looking For
Original, entertaining, deeply thoughtful, and ultimately profoundly spiritual, this simple book takes the reader on an adventure within the being of a magnificent tiger. The tiger evolves from a proud, ruthless, and mighty ruler of the jungle to a sadly domesticated circus creature to a spiritually aware and transfigured being. His growth is mirrored in the life of his "master," to whom he refers from the very start of this account and whom we finally meet toward its glorious end. Along the path of the tiger's evolution, we also meet many an animal and human whose essential personalities and quirks are clearly drawn. The reader can easily overlook Narayan's inconsistent narrative voice, which is sometimes from within the tiger himself and sometimes from the third person. Too, one is amused by the absurdity of Indian bureaucracy and corruption as "officials" at one point try to figure out what to do with the tiger as he freely roams from village to village, and the book is flavored by India's "gestalt." But simple spiritual messages are delivered in the last 25 pages or so as the master and tiger make their way to the master's retreat and reside there in peace: "It's often said that God made man in his own image, it's also true that man makes God in his own image." "When you address a prayer to God, you are only praying to yourself...or at least youare entitled to half that prayer...". "...only the foolish waste their lives in fighting."

I wonder if the author of "The Life of Pi" is familiar with this work. Also, the author of "Water for Elephants" would love this work. Narayan is a world-class author who deserves to be read, particularly now as the world lurches toward a delusional catastrophe.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I had to read this for a class and I thorougly enjoyed it. It's a simple read but there's so much in there for you to think about. I would very strongly suggest A Tiger for Malgudi! ... Read more

15. Gods, Demons, and Others
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 252 Pages (1993-05-15)
list price: US$23.00 -- used & new: US$10.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226568253
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Following in the footsteps of the storytellers of his native India, R. K. Narayan has produced his own versions of tales taken from the Ramayana and the Mahabarata. Carefully selecting those stories which include the strongest characters, and omitting the theological or social commentary that would have drawn out the telling, Narayan informs these fascinating myths with his urbane humor and graceful style.

"Mr. Narayan gives vitality and an original viewpoint to the most ancient of legends, lacing them with his own blend of satire, pertinent explanation and thoughtful commentary."—Santha Rama Rau, New York Times

"Narayan's narrative style is swift, firm, graceful, and lucid . . . thoroughly knowledgeable, skillful, entertaining. One could hardly hope for more."—Rosanne Klass, Times Literary Supplement

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Legendary stories of India
As with other great story telling traditions, these stories have been retold for generations and are inspiring, righteous and entertaining. Gives you insight on the Indian thought and value system.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Stories that Enhance Understanding of the major players of India's Epics
I would not recommend this work if youhaven't had vast exposure to the Ramayana and the Mahabharata (from any translators). If you have a good acquaintance with the major players of these epics, then this book will help clarify many things, as it provides back story that isn't covered in either epic, that explains many otherwise odd aspects of some of the characters' actions and beliefs. No collection of Indian epics is complete without it. Wonderfully written, and a joy to read overall.

4-0 out of 5 stars Indian Myths and Legends
This is a very nice book in which R.K. Narayan retells various stories and legends from India. The stories range from those of Devi to the demon king Ravana and pretty much everything in between. What makes this particularly nice is Narayan's mastery of the English language. He manages to make these stories understandable and approachable for a western audience, and in doing so has created a wonderful book. Even if you are not familar with the many epics of ancient India, I strongly recommend that you approach this book. It makes it very easy for westerners to understand and appreciate the cultural works of South Asia. Check it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gods, Demons, and Others
Fantastic book from truly one of the greatest english writing authors of the 20th Century. Once you read Narayan, any other author is only second best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Narayan The master story teller
R.K Narayan is perhaps one of the best known Indo Anglican writers. He is known capture the Indianness of his subject despite of writing in english. In this wonderful little book he tries to narrate some excerpts from Indianmythology. These are chosen from portions of great epics to folk loretales. Most of these tales are usually naratted by a priest or some storyteller in a villlage side temple. Having listened to some of those storytelling concerts I would say Narayan's book gives you the same exhilirationand joyyou would experience as you listen to alive story teller in avillage. ... Read more

16. My Days: An Autobiography
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 192 Pages (2001-06-22)
list price: US$14.45 -- used & new: US$16.33
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Asin: 0330484435
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In his wrylt funny style, R.K. Narayan shares his life story. In his youth, the dreaming Narayan begins to write fiction against the advice of all. When one of his pieces is accepted by Punch magazine, his life becomes gradually filled with bumbling British diplomats, strange movie moguls, evasive Indian officials and the blind urge to fall in love. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Narayan's days
R.K. Narayan's memoir gives us a glimpse into the uncomplicated life of a simple man who became one of the 20th century's literary giants. On par with Graham Greene, Narayan shared in his literature the world of Malgudi, a busy place peopled with hilarious characters and a clear reflection of the politics of a small Indian city. Narayan's India is real, bereft of the imperial feel of Kipling's version of a few decades earlier. In Malgudi, everyone knows each other, and the circle of life revolves around a little print shop, fashioned after the shop Narayan would visit when creating his local arts paper as a young man.

MY DAYS is a fascinating look into Narayan's psyche, though it does drag at times. Narayan clearly writes better make-believe than real life, but this book is still a treat.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent rendering of Narayan'slife and times
This is vintage Narayan at his best.Those of us who are his regular readers, will continue to marvel at his breezy, uncomplicated style ofnarration.My Days will make you smile, shed a tear and feel sorry when itends !A must for all book-lovers. ... Read more

17. The Mahabharata (Penguin Modern Classics)
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 208 Pages (2001-03-01)
list price: US$18.60 -- used & new: US$11.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0141185007
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"The Mahabharata" is some 3,500 years old and is the longest poem in any language. It is one of the founding epics of Indian culture and, with its mixture of cosmic drama and profound philosophy (one small section forms the Bhaghavad Gita) it holds aunique place in world literature. In this drastically shortened prose rendering, Narayan uses all his extraordinary talents to convey to a modern reader why this is such a great story. Filled with vivid characters, obsessed with the rise and fall of gods, empires and heroes, Narayan's "Mahabharata" is an enormously enjoyable experience and the perfect introduction to the otherwise bewildering Indian cosmology. ... Read more

18. The Grandmother's Tale and Selected Stories
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 320 Pages (1999-01-01)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$13.21
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Asin: 0880016248
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A remarkable collection of stories from "India's most notable novelist and short-story writer" (The New York Times Book Review). There is no better introduction to R.K. Narayan than this remarkable collection of stories celebrating work that spans five decades. Characters include a storyteller whose magical source of tales dries up, a love-stricken husband who is told by astrologers he must sleep with a prostitute to save his dying wife, a pampered child who discovers that his beloved uncle may be an impostor or even a murderer. Standing supreme amid this rich assortment of stories is the title novella. Told by the narrator's grandmother, the tale recounts the adventures of her mother, married at seven and then abandoned, who crosses the subcontinent to extract her husband from the hands of his new wife. Her courage is immense and her will implacable -but once her mission is completed, her independence vanishes. Gentle irony, wryly drawn characters, and themes at once Indian and universal mark these humane stories, which firmly establish Narayan as one of the world's preeminant storytellers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Young and Old-A Beautiful Book
A Grandmother's Tale by R.K Narayan is not only a beautifully written book it is easily accessible for children and adults alike. I read this book as a young adult and fell in love with all of Mr. Narayan's prose and have continued to read his entire collection.

The story is a narrative in a narrative where Mr. Naryan is writing his Grandmother's story, a look into an India where child marriage was normal and ananas were still the currency. I can not stress how beautifully written (and translated) this book is as it allows for a reader to journey through an old India which is filled with ancient and family traditions.

This book is relatively short and very easy for a middle school child to read. I would highly recommend this book to parents who are looking to introduce a new type of genre into their children's reading routing. For adults, this book can easily be finished in a day (if not two hours) and it will leave you reaching for more of Mr. Narayan's works.

So, if you are looking for a new addition to your book collection that is unique and well written, turn to the works of Mr. Narayan and be swept away to India.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Evocative Stories
Grandmother's Tale was my introduction to Narayan and frankly I have been wondering where he's been all my life.These stories are wonderful.They are the kind of stories that stayed with me for several days after reading them.Narayan brings you to a time and a place with each story.His characters are believable, his stories moving, his writing impecable.Each story is full of humanity.I really enjoyed this collection and look forward to reading more of his work. ... Read more

19. The Man-eater of Malgudi
by R. K. Narayan
Paperback: 208 Pages (2010-02-11)
-- used & new: US$14.08
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Asin: 8122204937
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Natraj is the likable owner of a print shop, a man with no enemies. His placid life is overturned when Vasu, a powerful taxidermist and a big blustering bully, moves into the attic above his shop; with him come stuffed hyenas, pythons, tigers and a retinue of dancing girls. When in search for a bigger game Vasu threatens the life of the temple elephant, the simple and timid print shop owner turns street-smart, becomes less of a pushover and is ready to take on the big bully. A sizzling temple dancer, Rangi, and Natraj's personal assistant Sastri, add to the novel's unique charm and delightfully wicked humour. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars A story of triumph
This is a story of the triumph good over evil. In some ways it is much like the many mythological stories told to young Indian children at temples and schools by their elders.

The important thing in those tales and in this one as well, is to realize that just because something is "evil", it isnt entirely unholy or deviod of any good. Bhasmasura, the demon whom this tale is based on, was a very powerful and devoted disciple of God. Similarly, Vasu has his strengths as well. The reader will notice how the two faces of the same coin start merging. The simple print shop owner who was docile and timid enough to print the lawyer's invites for "free" changes over the course of the book to become more street wise and less of a push over much like Vasu.

Every form has its good and bad. R. K. Narayan wraps up this little nugget of truth with some very humurous touches in The Man-Eater of Malgudi.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ok
It was an ok book. Didn't really come together till the end, made it hard to understand and really enjoy.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Maneater Rulez
This is the most unexplainable book! I cant say whether its stupid or ot. its so hilariious but has too much of inimportant and useless stories which have no relation with anything. i have to write a book report so i read it. anyone else who has too will really like it. i didnt think it would be good but pretty much liked it. i like the ending especially. anywayz, now i'm going to copy the other persons review, give it to my teacher and get 5/5. thanx amazon and the reviewer from manchester!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Narayan's best
"Man eater of Malgudi" by R.K. Narayan,one of India's first internationally-known writers who chose to write in English, is easily one of the author' best works. Vasu,a big blustering bully, moves into the lazylittle South Indian town of Malgudi,the fictional town in which nearly allof Narayan's stories are set, and overturns the life of Natarajthe town'sprinter. A colourful retinue of other characters: the "sizzling"prostiute Rangi,a poet, Nataraj's practical assistant, the lovable templeelephant Kumar...all add to the novelunique charm and fascination.Muchof the novel's complexity lies in the fact that Narayan loosely bases histale on the ancient Indian myth of a blustering demon Bhasmasura whoterrorises the world of mortals.Much has been written about Narayan's'comic vision'. Beneath the frothy light-heartedness of 'Man eater...' is aserious and complex exploration of many issues central to life in modernIndia - an individual's caste and how it determines his life andrelationship with others, the battle between 'good' and 'evil' and howthese values are determined by a society, the confrontation betweenmodernity and tradition - a way of life which is thoudands of yearsold.These issues are further highlighted by the fact that Narayan usesEnglish the language of 'modern' India and, at the same time, adopts therhytmns, sytanctic structures and diction which make for a unique brand of'Indian English' The novel also transcends the regional in that it toucheson some of the tragi-comedy of human life, some of the boredom, horror andglory that make up our existence.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Narayan's best
'Man eater of Malgudi' by R.K. Narayan, one of India's first internationally acclaimed writers who chose to write in English, can easily be rated one of the author's his best efforts. A story set inthe smallSouth Indian town of Malgudi in which most of Narayan's stories areset,'Mane eater ...' capturesmuch of the mind-bogglingly intricateaspects of modern Indian life. Much of the complexity of the novelcomesfrom the fact that Narayan's plot is loosely based on theIndian myth of'Basmasura' a powerful demon who wreaks havoc on the world and is finallydestroyed in the most ridiculous manner. Much has been written and saidabout 'Narayan's comic world view'. It is perhaps wise to think of thisnovel as a good instance of the writer's amazingly complicated use of thecomic mode - under the light-heartedness, charmand cheer is apowerfulawareness of the complexities of Indian society and indeed,life itself :the conflict between tradition and modernity, the intricate inter-castedynamicswhich dictate the way characters think and relate to each other,the war between 'good' and 'evil', 'weak and 'strong'. Narayan capturessome of the beauty, the sadness, the laughter and the glory of humanexistence.The author's use of English is especially interesting becauseNarayan's very 'Indian' English capttures the syntactic structures andrhythmns of India's native languages. Besides,the use of a 'modern' Westernlanguage in this little Indiantown which is still deeply rooted in a wayof life which is thousands of years old, itself signifies some of thenovel's themes.Narayan's mode of story-telling owes much much to theancient Indian tradition of ofolk-narrative . One can say without any much,exaggeration that this one of the best books in English ever written by anIndian. ... Read more

20. The English Teacher
by R. K. Narayan
 Paperback: 184 Pages (2007-12-01)
-- used & new: US$11.71
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Asin: 8185986037
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Never has the magical storyteller of imaginary Malgudi woven tragedy and humour so deftly together. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Touching
R.K.Narayan was the first writer I read apart from texts so I tend to have an affinity towards his writing. More for the settings and the simple language used to weave a descriptive picture. But The English Teacher is one where it becomes clear that his wife's death clearly affected his writing. The content and the spiritual contemplation shed light on what must have been a tough time for him personally.

4-0 out of 5 stars trauma of departure of a loved one
This book is autobiographical. It depicts painful struggle of the author to come to terms with passing away of his young, beloved wife- dreams, nightmares, spirits, planchet et al.

In fact after reading the book you ask- How did the author survive to tell the tale?

On another level this book is almost therapeutic if you read it after you lose some one very dear to you. I read it again after I lost my own mother and experienced its healing touch.

4-0 out of 5 stars His best work...
This one's my favourite Narayan - along with the Maneater of Malgudi, this occupies a very special place in my book-shelf. The English Teacher - a.k.a. Grateful to Life and Death - is a sad story, sadder than most of Narayan's Malgudi novels. But the tragedy is softened by the wry humour that runs through the novel.

'The feeling,' Narayan writes on the first page, 'again and again came upon me that as I was nearing thirty I should cease to live like a cow (perhaps, a cow, with justice, might feel hurt at the comparison), eating, working in a manner of speaking, walking, talking, etc, - all done to perfection, I was sure, but always leaving a sense of something missing.' You can see what I'm talking about.

The story, as Narayan narrates in his autobiography 'My Days', is intensely personal.
'The English Teacher is autobiographical in content, very little of it being fiction. The "English Teacher" of the novel ... is a fictional character in the fictional city of Malgudi, but he goes through the same experience I had gone through...'

'That book,' he writes, 'falls in two parts - one is domestic life and the other half is "spiritual."'

The second half comes as a bit of a surprise, but Narayan tackles the difficult subjects of death, deprivation and desolation masterfully. Narayan takes you through the story gently. There are no shocks, nothing disturbing. This is a sad tale, gently told.

The book ends on a note of hope - 'it was a moment of rare, immutable joy - a moment for which one feels grateful to Life and Death.' The reviewer who spoke of how Narayan manages to 'communicate ... the extra-ordinary ordinariness of human happiness', I think hit the nail right on the head.

5-0 out of 5 stars Narayan's best
Through his unobtrusive insights, Narayan paints a beautiful picture of a small fictional South Indian town - Malgudi (which is in reality, a mixture of images derived from his hometown in the Kumbakonam District of Tamilnadu and Mysore in Karnataka. Narayan's description of the life of South Indians- their simple houses, grandmothers, earnest young men, garrulous retired men, street dogs, cricket playing youngsters- all make for a compelling picture, funny and poignant simultaneously.

I cannot recollect the number of times I have read this book - The old Indian TV serial "Malgudi Days" immortalized Narayan's imagination on Indian television. Of course, Malgudi days dealt primarily with Narayan's celebrated "Swami and his friends", but the small town also serves as the backdrop for this semi-autobiographic novel of Narayan.

The English teacher- Krishnan leads a blissful life with his wife and daughter. Life takes a cruel turn when his wife dies of typhoid. The rest of the book deals with Krishnan's struggle, seances through which he communicates with his wife's soul and finally- the magnificent ending of the book, when the author finally realizes the true meaning of life and he experiences "a moment of pure immutable joy; a moment for which one feels grateful to life and death"

The book is based on Narayan's real life; In his own words, very little of the book is fiction...There are loving references to Susheela- her height (in reality, Narayan's wife was taller than him!), the description of her midnight-blue silk saree, the fragrance of jasmine that enveloped everything associated with her....One can only begin to sense the magnitude of Narayan's loss. Through this book, Narayan has accorded the Indian way of life and his love the greatest possible respect and honor.

5-0 out of 5 stars touching
amazingly tender. Narayan is a master story-teller. ... Read more

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