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The Dark Room

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  774 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
"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 gra ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published October 1st 1994 by University Of Chicago Press (first published June 1938)
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2 States by Chetan BhagatI Too Had a Love Story by Ravinder SinghThe 3 Mistakes of My Life by Chetan BhagatThe Immortals of Meluha by Amish TripathiRevolution 2020 by Chetan Bhagat
Indian Books - Fiction
108th out of 755 books — 2,151 voters
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Best Young Adults Fiction in India
91st out of 212 books — 434 voters

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Community Reviews

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Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lars Guthrie
Jun 06, 2010 Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing
The third Narayan novel I have read in the Everyman's Library edition of four stories set in the fictional town of Malgudi, India and I am looking forward to the fourth ('The English Teacher'), as Narayan's wonderful unassuming and gentle style improved with each of the books I have read so far.

In 'The Dark Room,' Narayan writes about a female protagonist for the first time. Savitri, sensitive and intelligent, is burdened with a boorish and overbearing husband as well as three insensitive and o
Gorab Jain
Mar 06, 2016 Gorab Jain rated it liked it
Shelves: indian, 2016
3.5 stars.
Read this in a single sitting. Everytime I start reading RKN, it feels like this is the best book by him so far! Unfortunately this feeling ended after 50% when suddenly the story took a wild turn. This is a simple story of Savitri, mother of three children with a very dominating husband. Even the minutest emotions are depicted very well and yet so simplistic.
First half - 5 stars for it is just brilliant! More than any other book I've read by him.
Overall - 3 stars.
An extra half star on
Jun 30, 2015 Sankrutyayan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Savitri, a jewel among all the housewives of old Indian times. Savitri - an enchanted one, a conundrum. The one who takes care of her three little kids and husband with almost religious commitment. Malgudi, the perfect imaginary hometown for me. I can almost breathe the various different smells in the streets which are blended by the movement of innocent people of Malgudi if not for this reality trying to disrupt my fantasy of perfect Indian not so populated little town in the south of India. It
Rishi Prakash
Jun 09, 2013 Rishi Prakash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A simple story which depicts the picture of our conservative society where a man can get away with anything but a woman cannot even do things which definitely looks quite normal to me. The great man comes up with another story which leaves a huge impact on the readers. A story as relevant today as it was way back when it was first published in 1956, it certainly makes for a thought-provoking read. It reflects the unfair conservatism of a society which has been set up in a way where it is always ...more
Burning Gem
Oct 31, 2012 Burning Gem rated it really liked it
Nov 07, 2011 Pawan rated it really liked it

When I picked up this book, I was hoping for something similar to “The World Of Nagaraj”, by R. K. Narayan that I had read sometime back. Even though this book “The Dark Room” is also set in the town of Malgudi, it is quite different from the previous one. In this book, the author has actually tried to highlight the nature of family that lived during those times. Maybe in some ways that nature of families still continues.

This story is about Savitri who is a submiss
Giridharan Karunagaran
some would say that the story has an unfinished ending. some others would say that the story is too simple. some would even venture that a typical husband and wife drama has been overused and is stale today.

well, the ones who would say such things have watched too many wasteful tamil movies.

We must keep in mind that this story was written close to sixty years ago.

The fact is that the story of the troubles of a husband and wife couple with their suspicions of infidelity and self-doubt, is still
Nithesh Satish
Dec 25, 2015 Nithesh Satish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Charity! Charity! Savitri was appalled by the amount of it that threatened one. "All right , I will live in this ," she said, choosing the lesser charity.

This book is about the struggle of a woman who dared not speak a word against her husband. It is about a woman who struggled hard to unshackle herself from the society which owned her in every possible way, but yet returned to its fold for the sake of her children. It is about modernity without which India as a society would have never moved fo
May 07, 2016 Aanu rated it liked it
This book is one of best examples of how RKN sir's novels can be so realistic.
Savithri unable to bear the injustice done to her by her husband storms out of the home only to return in 3days.
Not a heroic tale where a soft spoken demure housewife becomes bold person overnight.

I could never forgive Savithri for not calling and helping Mari (had saved her life when she tries to drown herself)when he roams the sunny streets of Malgudi with hunger..

Ramani's actions and male chauvnism is very well expl
Jun 02, 2016 Praharsh rated it it was amazing
The condition of women, mainly, "housewives" has not changed much. Despite the story being set in 1935, any person in Modern India would identify with the condition of women depicted in the story. You can't help but sympathize with Savitri, on whom all the work-load of the household is bestowed.Adding to the already miserable and powerless life, her husband Ramani spends his nights in his office with Shanta Bai, whom he has taken a liking to. A must read for any Feminist and for all these who ju ...more
Very few readers will dispute the talent that R K Narayan was. He was the first Indian writer in English to acquire such a name for himself both among native as well as foreigner readers.
V. S Naipaul has written how his image of India was entirely shaped by reading R K Narayan's books and all that happens in Malgudi, the fictional small-town in South India that the author set his stories in. His tales came with a parochial delight, yet encompassed a world of human emotions and characters. This w
Latika Tagra
May 29, 2015 Latika Tagra rated it liked it
Story of a housewife from the times that seem ancient to me; times when salaries were Rs 100- 500 (of the richest people too).

So this woman has epiphany that she has been living on a man's earnings; her father before her husband. The whole description where she thrives for self reliance is very grasping and enriching but character development is a huge letdown.

Or maybe women's lives were just miserable back then.
Mar 16, 2015 Jane rated it it was amazing
I re-read this two weeks ago, as it has haunted me for years. What a gentle soul Mr Narayan had! The struggle of his female protagonist is such that you simply cannot put the book down. Her attempt to free herself in some manner from her oppression grips the reader throughout. Let those silly individuals who imagine that everyone in the world "has a chance to liberate themselves" reflect on the truth of the matter.
Oct 15, 2012 Ajay rated it it was amazing

A poignant story of a women , who felt very dependent of the male dominated society. Women are to be given food and shelter and cajole them every time to keep up the harmony and retain peace in the house. Savithri is the very loveable wife to her husband. He cajoles her calling pet and all sort of stuffs , but yet fails to keep up her mind in peace. The value of a women will never be known until some one miss them. When Ramani's elder son Babu asks him if his mother is alive, like breaking the
Jun 02, 2013 Paru rated it liked it
Well, I had a lot of expectations from this book having read an excerpt from an omnibus years ago. It gave me the impression that the book was a poignant tale about a woman fighting to be heard in the male-dominated pre-Independence India. What it turned out to be was a description of a short outburst of indignation from a woman, frustrated by the amorous tendencies of her husband, who eventually goes on to accept her life the way it is for the sake of her children.
This is not the story of a wo
Jun 15, 2016 Spandana rated it liked it
yes the dark room is a simple story but the style it conveyed and the truth behind that is conveyed in a splendid way.. the story emerged from normal society ... the inner feelings of a woman came with ease.. when finished reading felt like unfinished but with time felt like it's a complete unfinished one..there could not be a finish to the story...
Gopal Krishan
Good writer,Main character(female) is dependent on her husband.She struggles to be self-sufficient but relises soon to return home which she left.
Fulfilling n touching.
Rosun Rajkumar
May 26, 2012 Rosun Rajkumar rated it really liked it
Reading RK Narayan makes me miss my childhood. The picture he paints of people and places are like that of your neighbours or those whom you have seen and known all the time. The rustic Indian sub-town/village feel to his writings is unbeatable.
The dark room is a really light read yet the rich characters and the poignant story lingers on. I feel like his characters are so real-life that they could just come put of the books for you to see and feel them right in front of you. The irony and the s
Puneet Sharma
Jun 11, 2015 Puneet Sharma rated it really liked it
Savitri is made to feel how completely dependent she is upon her husband, Ramani, when pressure is brought to bear upon their long-standing marriage.
May 07, 2014 Srivarani rated it really liked it
really good...realistic,moving,a very good entertaining novel with subtle remarks about a typical 20th century Indian family...
Jul 27, 2015 Damodar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad book. Just a quick read. This read won't change your high opinion held of Narayan
Deepali Gupta
Apr 07, 2016 Deepali Gupta rated it really liked it
My first book by RK Narayan. It is definitely a page turner and leaves you in suspense after each page, which will not let you turn it down. I liked it much though not satisfied by the end. Looking to more works by Narayan.
Aditi Warrier
Nov 05, 2015 Aditi Warrier rated it liked it
I think he shouldn't have left the ending hanging like that...
Mirang Shah
Feb 11, 2014 Mirang Shah rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-reading
Gripping tale in beginning & in between but it get ended abruptly.
Mar 19, 2016 Pradyuman rated it liked it
In starting it was very good but end was not good
Aug 10, 2014 Srinikhil marked it as to-read
Aishu Anu
May 16, 2016 Aishu Anu marked it as to-read
Shelves: a
R. K. Narayan, undoubtedly the best Indian writer in English, does it again for me. He was a great observer and a gifted articulator. ‘The Dark Room’ set in the fictitious town of Malgudi is yet again an impressive tale. Humorous but satirical, ‘The Dark Room’ describes the plight of a subdued housewife. The story is what we read of almost everyday in newspapers and magazines alike, what we see in our own families or around us but R. K. Narayan’s deliberation made it a great read.
Jaseena AL
Jul 06, 2015 Jaseena AL rated it really liked it
Rating : 4 stars
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R. K. Narayan is among the best known and most widely read Indian novelists who wrote in English.

R.K. Narayan was born in Madras, South India, in 1906, and educated there and at Maharaja's College in Mysore. His first novel, Swami and Friends and its successor, The Bachelor of Arts, are both set in the enchanting fictional territory of Malgudi and are only two out of the twelve novels he based the
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