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The Financial Expert

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  851 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1952)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,546)
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Diane Lynn
May 25, 2015 Diane Lynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: india, fiction
A very good story set during the late 1930's and into the 1940's. Another of R.K. Narayan's tales set in his fictional town of Malgudi, India. Through Narayan's wonderful witty prose, we get to know Margayya, the "financial expert", his family and all of their many problems. Malgudi is a very ordinary town filled with ordinary people. Margayya is really just looking to make a quick buck lakh rupee with as little work as possible. He really is very devious and shady. He enjoys advising people in ...more
May 29, 2014 Katerina rated it liked it
First thought - this book is made to be read in English. I had a French copy and I believe that I have missed the spirit of it.

Nevertheless I consider it as an incredible portrait of a man in the Indian society, or even, I will go further, any traditional eastern society. All the battle between the internal hesitations, very human feelings and the need of being accepted by the people around who have literaly nothing to do with you. All the hypocrisy of the socity and many many other problems wh
Rishi Prakash
Jul 12, 2013 Rishi Prakash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Master story teller comes out with yet another classic book here. Infact it is one of the best that I have read so far. I am surprised that it has not been made into a movie yet because it has all ingradients to entertain us.
Coming to the story, it tells us about the time in British India when they established community banks to encourage a habit of thrift and to create a system of orderly loans. They did this specially to empower the poor people(which was majority of the population that ti
Purvi Petal
Mar 17, 2016 Purvi Petal rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, owned-copy
This was my first introduction to the nitti-gritties of financial manipulations. It is an accurate account of the money-swindling whirlpool created by the protagonist to keep sucking money in, but as is Karma's calling, his own son proves to be his undoing. Try whatever he might, he is unable to pass on his brains to his son and all his 'hard-earned' black money drowns him in in his self created quagmire instead, the comeuppance to his deeds.
The novel paints a subtle picture of South India, like
Mar 06, 2009 James rated it really liked it
This is a witty and luminous novel set in the backward town of Malgudi in southern India. It is a world created by R. K. Narayan and like Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County it is memorable and filled with characters that come alive on the page. The Financial Expert of the title is a man named Margayya who sits in a public park dispensing advice on economic matters to people who revere him. Throughout the novel the reader is introduced to several characters that may seem to play only a minor role, b ...more
Kaustuv Baral
Jul 28, 2013 Kaustuv Baral rated it it was amazing
If one has to know about typical Indian sensibilities one should simply read RK Narayan books. For an Indian, reading through the pages is like himself enacting the story- as at the some point either we have seen this happening or have been a part of it. RK Narayan delves into the Indian common man psyche and presents his story. Financial expert was quirky, funny, engaging and never ever boring. The plot which shows the entire life of the Financial expert- his ups and downs leaves you with a kin ...more
Jasveer Singh
May 09, 2013 Jasveer Singh rated it did not like it
After watching a TV series based on Malgudi Days, I decided to give this book a try. But It beat crap out of my course books at being dull.
The story drags without much happening and then suddenly it ends with as much logic as it started. When Narayan had been scribbling the boring story for around six months, it got to the nerves of his wife and one morning she said, "Hey you old man! Finish this crap or else no breakfast for you". So obeyed R.K.
A village financial adviser(the protagonist) ente
Apr 10, 2016 Skjam! rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: reader who wants mostly realistic novel about pre-independence India
Recommended to Skjam! by: cover
In the South Indian town of Malgudi, across from the Central Cooperative Land Mortgage Bank, there is a banyan tree under which sits Margayya, the financial expert. Margayya (“the one who shows the way”) is an unofficial middleman who helps the unlettered villagers apply for small loans from the bank (for a small fee), arranges for people who still have good credit to take loans to help out those with bad credit (for a small fee) and gives financial advice, among other services (for a small fee. ...more
Sep 23, 2015 Victoria rated it really liked it
A friend brought me this book from a trip to India, where the acclaimed author is well appreciated for his classic tales. They combine a deceptively simple narrative style and acute perceptions of human nature in all its absurdity and poignancy. Graham Greene was an early Narayan admirer and helped bring his work to attention in the West.
In this novella, the hero, Margayya, although indubitably Indian, also is “a type which should have taken its place long ago in world literature because he exis
May 25, 2014 Allison rated it really liked it
Shelves: masters-1st-year
This book is part of my Masters Degree syllabus under "Indian Literature in English". Before I started the book, I was not very keen on reading it and only did so for my studies' sake. Although I have read many books in Indian languages, I had never read an English book by an Indian. I was sure the it would be slow paced and about everyday life of ordinary people. (As opposed to the fantasy and thriller genres that I so enjoy). But once I started reading the book, it just pulled me in. The langu ...more
To start off lightly, this book like any other R.K.Narayan's works will have all the usual characters of Malgudi and those beautiful roads,river,temple etc. But unlike all his works this book was indifferent, as if it had been written out of no purpose at all or with very less inventiveness. As the background is always the same i.e Malgudi, I am happy till there but there is something lacking. And this is only my opinion, I'm in no position to talk of his great work but for me it seemed similar ...more
Debosmita Paul
Apr 24, 2015 Debosmita Paul rated it really liked it
Margayya of Malgudi. Well his name was the distorted version of what actually means 'marga'-road and 'ayya'-superior, in short one who shows the road. And that is what he was in terms of finances. Deducing loans from the claws of corporate banks in favour of villagers and extorting interest in a fatherly way was his forte. Its a tale of rags to riches. But moreso a tale of faith and talent, that are the actual assets of human life. A talented man walks with his fortune safely shining inside his ...more
Aug 16, 2007 Daniel rated it really liked it
Narayan belongs with Dostoevsky and Chekhov as writers who at once capture both the intimate peculiarities of their fellow countrymen and the common ordinariness of all human lives. Here he returns again to fictional Malgudi, with a tale of a money lender and his son that might be called ‘The Prodigal Father’. Narayan’s sly yet gentle irony and his elliptical dialogue are both put to superb use.
Aug 23, 2011 Anil rated it it was amazing
Another masterpiece from R.K.Narayan. As always, the author creates a fantastic movie in the reader's mind and keeps the reader lively and blissful. Many who have given bad rating to this book have to understand the Indian society and living around 50 years back. Margayya is a wonderful character creation. The book will not let you stop reading it until you complete it. Simple and very detail book!
Sneh Pradhan
Mar 02, 2014 Sneh Pradhan rated it liked it
Reading this book was a return to my teenage idol-worship of R.K. Narayan's books , each and every one of ém ........Even now , when I am more used to reading pacy , and those twist-and-turn rich tales .......... I savour this detour from those busy, trafficked roads to the irresistible charm of a lazy bullock-cart ride on a quaint Indian village road . Narayan has never failed or , even slipped in his at once , incise and gripping portrayal of Indian village life , As always , letting you live ...more
Nisar Masoom
Jul 13, 2015 Nisar Masoom rated it liked it
Not as special as the author's previous work of fiction: Mr. Sampath.

Most of the situations are explained through the outlook of Margayya, who is the main character this time around. He begins his career as a novice financial expert advising fellow townspeople under a banyan tree. And this novel deals mostly with the theme of money and the third Deadly Sin greed.

It is a bit foreseeable and lacks in originality. Also, the worst aspect of this book is that in between it becomes humdrum much likes
ej cullen
Feb 13, 2010 ej cullen rated it really liked it
Charming little book, more like a 245 page short story in its minimalist compactness. Larry Flynt meets Bernie Madoff in India. Only problem is in the last few pages, where Narayan can't seem to get the plane of denouement off the long runway and into the air.
Ajitabh Pandey
The author R.K. Narayan has created a funny character in this book. Overall a decent read.
George Anders
May 21, 2015 George Anders rated it it was amazing
Very nicely constructed and surprisingly timeless. Most reviewers savor this book because of its richly detailed portrayal of Indian village life in the 1940s. That's where all the comparisons to Chekhov, Faulkner, etc. come into play. But what intrigued me -- as someone who spent nearly a decade too close to Wall Street -- was the way that an Indian Ponzi scheme unfolded.

Bernie Madoff's mischief didn't surface until more than a half-century later. This book captures the ego and the indifferenc
Dec 12, 2011 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, india
Set in the mythical village of Malgudi, this subtle book tells the story of Margayya, a self-appointed financial wizard who helps peasants with their money matters. One day, after being shamed by a peon at the big Co-Operative Bank, he decides to become very wealthy. He goes to a priest, performs the rituals, and gets into a variety of money making schemes, offering high interest rates for the villagers’ savings. But when Dr. Pal, the learned journalist, gets too friendly with Margayya’s spoiled ...more
Anie  Bats
Apr 20, 2016 Anie Bats rated it it was amazing
This book shows about the life of Indian common man who is well versed in finance, his ups and downs that give us the feeling through which everyone have been part of it or have seen it happening. It seems to be an original, entertaining and fascinating story that keeps the reader engaged till the end of the book. One never gets bored and likes to explore more and more about financial expert life. Overall it’s worth reading and great work of R.K Narayan.
Oct 15, 2012 Ajay rated it it was amazing

Another marvellous penmanship by RK Narayan. At every review of his books, I at least mention his name once to show my gratitude to his works. This particular pick,is no where less to the royal writing set up by the author. The book as it goes by its name is the story about Margayya. His life started with a small set up under the banyan tree in front of the corporation bank as a financier. He ran hither and thither to taste money. But that never stopped him from making it plenty and finally end
Vic Parsons
Narayan is a great Indian writer. The edition I read, courtesy of a friend, had an intro by the Editors of Time that said Narayan was likely the last of the Indian writers in English because it was the language of the colonizers. How wrong they were! Indian nationals, and writers of Indian ancestry living in both Canada and the U.S. are among the most creative and prominent of today's literary artists.
Ankush Agrawal
Jan 18, 2014 Ankush Agrawal rated it really liked it
This was my first book by this author and I must say the style of writing is good. The subtle humor weaved along with engrossing story makes you feel as if you are a part of the protagonist. You share in the feelings of the main character and would have wanted to help him in any way possible. It truly is an interesting read.
Tenzin Gyaltsen
Jul 30, 2008 Tenzin Gyaltsen rated it liked it
India and her people struggling to earn their living through various means, even discarding some bold and socially intended beneficial ideas, like many around around the world. Margaya, the main character in the novel even goes to the extend of following strict religious rituals to gain wealth, though he doesn't believes in so when he was well off. This one of the many acts of man, shows he desperate a man can be to fulfill his desires. The author, R. K. Narayan also explores the nature and zeal ...more
Aruna Kumar Gadepalli
What makes R.K. Narayan's story interesting - the narrative style the human nature and the way the life is narrated.
Vandana R
Sep 27, 2012 Vandana R rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing like RKN to set the mood right. His writing are drenched with irony,philosophy and MALGUDI.
The Financial Expert is a man of his words, the best money-manager you can find. The story weaves the complexities of his family,society and career relationship with sarcasm,logic and a subtle mockery.
RKN is undoubtedly one of my favorites. He knows his country and the minds of Indians ,which makes it easy to relate. You can stare at the mirror and find a little of the financial expert in you,pro
Sandeep Reddy
Dec 23, 2015 Sandeep Reddy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rkn
R K Narayan's paints a beautiful canvas with creating a character in Financial field. He introduces the character in normal way and elevates to a different level. Changes the perspective of the character with little changes in his life. Adds humor in almost every page and the beauty is humor even in serious situations without spoiling the message. Explains how money changes ones way of working from ethical to unethical, concludes with saying passion is everything not money in hilarious way. Wond ...more
Jan 09, 2015 Chirag rated it it was amazing
This is a precious book!
Jun 20, 2010 Sachin rated it liked it
Typical Narayan's style, typical of Malgudi,
A Must read to get insight into the world of Malgudi and Margayya.
The person approaching Margayya, who offered him the manuscript, is also interesting
And like the revival of Granny from the pyre in, "Waiting for the Mahatma", melodrama prevails here too with the sudden disapperance of Margayya's son and his supposed death.

Overall a novel offering insight into the world of Malgudi.
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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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