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R K Narayan's writing spans the greatest period of change in modern Indian history, from the days of the Raj - Swami and Friends (1935), The Bachelor of Arts (1937) and The English Teacher (1945) - to recent years of political unrest - The Painter of Signs (1976), A Tiger for Malgudi (1983), and Talkative Man (1987). He has published numerous collections of short stories, including Malgudi Days (1982), and Under the Banyan Tree (1985), and several works of non-fiction.
R K Narayan died in 2001.
July 2011 Guest Editor Alexander McCall Smith on Swami and Friends... Narayan was one of the very first Indian novelists writing in English to gain a substantial western following. His Malgudi novels provide a marvellous picture of the life of an Indian town and are full of humour and human yearning.
Set against the backdrop of the Indian Freedom Movement, this fiction novel from award-winning Indian writer R. K. Narayan traces the adventures of a young man, Sriram, who is suddenly removed from a quiet, apathetic existence and, owing to his involvement in the campaign of Mahatma Gandhi against British rule in India, thrust into a life as adventurously varied as that of any picaresque hero."e;There are writers-Tolstoy and Henry James to name two-whom we hold in awe, writers-Turgenev and Chekhov-for whom we feel a personal affection, other writers whom we respect-Conrad, for example-but who hold us at a long arm's length with their 'courtly foreign grace.' Narayan (whom I don't hesitate to name in such a context) more than any of them wakes in me a spring of gratitude, for he has offered me a second home. Without him I could never have known what it is like to be Indian."e;-Graham Greene"e;R. K. Narayan...has been compared to Gogol in England, where he has acquired a well-deserved reputation. The comparison is apt, for Narayan, an Indian, is a writer of Gogol's stature, with the same gift for creating a provincial atmosphere in a time of change....One is convincingly involved in this alien world without ever being aware of the technical devices Narayan so brilliantly employs."e;-Anthony West, The New Yorker
The Mahabharata tells a story of such violence and tragedy that many people in India refuse to keep the full text in their homes, fearing that if they do, they will invite a disastrous fate upon their house. Covering everything from creation to destruction, this ancient poem remains an indelible part of Hindu culture and a landmark in ancient literature. Centuries of listeners and readers have been drawn to The Mahabharata, which began as disparate oral ballads and grew into a sprawling epic. The modern version is famously long, and at more than 1.8 million words--seven times the combined lengths of the Iliad and Odyssey--it can be incredibly daunting. Contemporary readers have a much more accessible entry point to this important work, thanks to R. K. Narayan's masterful translation and abridgement of the poem. Now with a new foreword by Wendy Doniger, as well as a concise character and place guide and a family tree, The Mahabharata is ready for a new generation of readers. As Wendy Doniger explains in the foreword, Narayan tells the stories so well because they're all his stories. He grew up hearing them, internalizing their mythology, which gave him an innate ability to choose the right passages and their best translations. In this elegant translation, Narayan ably distills a tale that is both traditional and constantly changing. He draws from both scholarly analysis and creative interpretation and vividly fuses the spiritual with the secular. Through this balance he has produced a translation that is not only clear, but graceful, one that stands as its own story as much as an adaptation of a larger work.
R. K. Narayan (19062001) witnessed nearly a century of change in his native India and captured it in fiction of uncommon warmth and vibrancy. 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. Written during British rule, this novel brings colonial India into intimate focus through the narrative gifts of this master of literary realism.
R. K. Narayan (19062001) witnessed nearly a century of change in his native India and captured it in fiction of uncommon warmth and vibrancy. 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. This pioneering novel, luminous in its detail and refreshingly free of artifice, is a gift to twentieth-century literature.
R. K. Narayan (19062001) witnessed nearly a century of change in his native India and captured it in fiction of uncommon warmth and vibrancy.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. Written during British rule, this novel brings colonial India into intimate focus through the narrative gifts of this master of literary realism.