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Swami and Friends

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  6,368 ratings  ·  179 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, 190 pages
Published October 1st 1994 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1935)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Priyanka
Swami and friends has got such an innocence that they will make you smile, remind you of the 'big problems' you had to face when you were a child and all those ridiculous things you did.

For example, I used to write letters exactly like this one

"I am studying here because my father came here. My mother is also
here. All of us are here. And we will be only here. I am doing well. I hope
you are doing well. It is very hot here. I had fever for three days and drank
medicine. I hope I will read well and
...more
Lars Guthrie
I would never have known about Narayan had not the parent of a child with whom I worked introduced me with a Christmas present of the Everyman's Library Edition of the four 'Malgugi' novels. Another lucky reward of my job. The first of these novels, 'Swami' is the story of a ten-year-old boy in a small town in southern India, just as Gandhi's independence movement is gaining traction.

Narayan's effortless prose is deceptively free of judgment, even style--a clean and spare narration that looks w
...more
umberto
In fact, I enjoyed reading all of the 19 Chapters in the first Narayan novel since I'd never read him before. It's one of the novels published in the Everyman's Library series and I couldn't help admiring him as well as his writing style, narrative and sense of humour to the extent that I could visualize how the rural Indians lived in the remote country nearly similar to my rural Thailand some 55 years ago.
I'm sorry I don't have the Everyman's Library hardcover nearby, therefore, I can't write m
...more
Amalie
Without a doubt, R K Narayan is one of the most famous Indian writers and a great story teller. His stories are gently humorous. Swami and Friends is one of his first published novels based on R. K. Narayan’s experiences as a village school teacher. There is absolutely nothing boring about this novel and is one of my favourite stories about children.

Swami/Swaminathan is a ten-year-old boy in a small town in southern India called ‘Malgudi’ (The fictitious southern Indian town which is the settin
...more
Annette mathews
I have heard many things about R.K Narayan . I am ashamed to say that I have not read a single book of his till now, him being such a renowned writer not to mention the fact that he was an Indian. I saw his books at a book fair recently.At first , I was hesitant to buy his books ,but then my dad compelled me ,So I ended up buying two of his books .
Better late than never.
The story is about Swami,Mani and Rajam who were foes at first but then went on to become great friends .What I like most in th
...more
Bigsna
:-) Simple and sweet. Much enjoyed reading this very classic book that became the popular Malgudi Days on TV.

RK Narayan picks up the tone of Swami and his friends so well. What I found really funny was how all the boys (Swami, Mani and Rajam)take themselves so seriously, when they haven't a clue about most things.
One of the funniest incidents was when the boys decide to form a local cricket club and wonder if the government would charge them a tax for forming the club, as the government seemed
...more
Surabhi
Swami and Friends is the first of a trilogy of novels written by RK Narayan, a celebrated English novelist from India. The novel, which is also Narayan's first, is set in pre-independence days in India, in a fictional town - Malgudi, which has almost become a real place in India today, due to the wide recognition and popularity of Narayan's many novels. His novels are known for their 'deftly etched characters, his uniquely stylized language and his wry sense of humor'.


Swami and Friends is the st
...more
Rishi Prakash
I did come back to Malgudi Like I had said after reading "Bachelor of Arts"! And in 1 simple line I am thrilled to be at Malgudi even though it took me so many years! R.K.Narayan is just a genius without any doubt. His writing skills are exemplary; simple yet so effective.
Swami must be one of his best characters for sure which I can convincingly say after reading this book. He is just someone who will never ever leave you once you get to know him. He is sweet, very funny, unpredictable and defi
...more
Ajay
Such a good book to read. By reading this book , I went back to feel my own childhood days and rejoiced it. The letter wrote by swami and rajam to the sports store in madras is a wonderful read. I could still visualise those words gripping my mind to enjoy their tenderness. When Swami was whipped with cane by his headmaster, I revived how I had the same beatings from my Chemistry master Tamil Raj.Thank god, I never had the guts to pull the cane from his hand and to run out of the school. The wil ...more
Dana
I loved this book a lot!! R.K.Narayan is a pride to Indian literature. Simple and humorous!! Swami is great!!-- The fact that he got expelled from two schools in succession proves it!! I love the odd composition of Swami's friends. Mani- A guy who bangs up everyone in sight and is a constant presence in back bench, Somu- A sweet monitor with an easy mind, Sankar- A nerd, Rajam- A rich, modern boy. Their odd friendship is really interesting. Above all, the book is written in such a way that we se ...more
Jim
R. K. Narayan is a Tamil writer who, like Faulkner, created his own little world, but in South India: The town of Malgudi. Swami and Friends is the first of his novels to be published, supposedly with the help of Graham Greene, who saw in him a master storyteller.

And so he is. Swami and Friends is a story of childhood, of a young boy named Swaminathan and his good friends Mani and Rajam and their various run-ins with each other and the school administration. Eventually, they found a cricket club
...more
Rajat
Swami and Friends is a heavy dose of nostalgia (at least for me). This is the only book I've encountered so far that has made me look back upon my life, my childhood. With Swami and Friends, you can almost see yourself, as you were as a child, in Swaminathan. You can relate to his playfulness, his actions, his absurdities, his whims, his peculiarities. Narayan is a master story-teller. Reading this book was like going on an evocative journey.
Amit
Kids growing up in an age before Satellite TV, Internet and Mobiles. Even after so many years you can still relate or maybe you know some kids exactly like Swami and his friends. Still makes me nostalgic after so many years. In my opinion better than Malgudi Days
Anuja
An absolutely delightful read. Swami and Friends offers a refreshing view of village life in early 20th century India, seen from the perspective of a ten year old in all his innocence.
Kadbury(Young Readers)
Not as preachy as I remembered it to be .
Jyothi Menon
Outstanding book by RK Narayan, truly one of India's greatest writers. Set in the small town of Malgudi, the book is a narration of the tribulatoins of childhood as well as a description of the culture and context of pre-independence India seen through a child's eyes.

Excellent description, great sense of humour and the child's blithe spirit pervades the whole book, bringing you alternately to laughter, joy and vexation. The young boy trying to be a man, buckling under peer pressure, close friend
...more
Parikhit
If there is one author who can mould the most trivial of all situations into a literary masterpiece it has to be R. K. Narayan. A writing that mirrors simplicity yet subliminal, R. K. Narayan has never failed to impress me. The fictitious town of Malgudi that forms the backdrop for most of his oeuvre is sincere, a representation of the realism found in the realms of any actual town or city and so are the myriad characters – be it the politician, a caricature of the khaki clad, the school headmas ...more
Manish Purohit
"Ye Daulat Bhii Le Lo, Ye Shoharat Bhii Le Lo, Bhale Chhiin Lo Mujhase Merii Javaanii, Magar Mujhako Lautaa Do Bachpann Kaa Saavan, Vo Kaagaz Kii Kashtii, Vo Baarish Kaa Paanii..." these magical lines by Sudarshan Faakir beautifully sums up the importance of childhood memories in our lives.

'Swami and Friends' brings out that 'bachpann' in you which is silently hidden in some corner of your heart. There is something especial about this book that separates it from all other creative masterpiece. T
...more
Fiza Pathan
Malgudi Schooldays was actually published as `Swami & Friends' when R. K. Narayan first wrote the stories of his child character Swaminathan & his adventures. We all love to read most of the time if not, books about our own lives & about people just like us. That's why many school stories & novels are popular. R.K. Narayan, the creator of the character Swami was well aware of this fact & so penned the adventures of a boy in Malgudi.

There is however, a stark difference between
...more
Vaidya
Reading any work of RKN was like a literary homecoming, to roam the streets of Malgudi, and observe the familiar characters go about their lives.

After struggling to finish The Financial Expert, I had fallen out a bit on RKN and hadn't picked up another book for more than a year. I picked this up on a whim, just to see if I can get back. This is easily his best so far for me, better than The Painter of Signs. It's great to be back!

How good a series Shankar Nag's Malgudi Days was can be gauged by
...more
Surbhi Ahluwalia
http://surbhireads.blogspot.in/2012/0...

Swami and Friends by R.K. Narayan is simple to read book set in pre Independence days of India in a fictional town Malgudi.The author's style of writing is simple , humorous and subtle still so real.
It took me back to my childhood memories of school where in little things used to look like huge problems.
The story narrates events in life of Swami and his friends Rajam and Mani as how they became friends their mischief at school , strolling in hot afternoon
...more
Ranjyoti Prakash
Will take you down in to the memory lanes of your childhood. Loved it.
Nandasiri Wanninayaka
I read “Swami and Friends” after watching the TV serial by the same name. Rupavahini dubbed it in Sinhala under the supervision of veteran media personality Titus Thotawatte. We enjoyed it as schoolboys and the adults too enjoyed it equally. Swami and Friends is the first of a trilogy of novels written by R. K. Narayan, a celebrated English language novelist from India. The novel, which is also Narayan’s first, is set in pre-independence days in India, in a fictional town called Malgudi. The sec ...more
Abhirami
a really good book!
Hari Hardihood
The book is the quintessential evidence which points out obvious gaps in generations and how a small world makes a kid happy. The character breathe in front of us. The naiveness of the kids in this book shows us how unlucky we are to have the world completely on the click of a button.This book set in the period of Indian freedom struggle will attract you more if you have experienced rural India as it should be.....
Abhishek Prakash
I almost cry when I remember this innocent and beautiful classic. I remember our own mini-adventures , the strict teachers , the cricket matches etc . I lived in small districts with my father (an IFS officer) , so I relate to the slow moving life emulated here. The beauty lies in the fact that he cannot be judgmental about anything - it is a book about a bunch of kids during the time when children did not have their innocence stripped away due to item numbers and vulgarity on T.V . They just wa ...more
Sheetal Dash
R K Narayan is without any doubt one of the most famous Indian writers. His books echo the simple lives and daily trials of the people of 'Malgudi'. This in fact is Narayan's first foray into the world of literatue.More than anything, the book is a reflection of our own childhood days when longed for the classes to end, the teachers we loved and hated, the school bully with whom it was great to strike up a friendship, the special kid whom we had to impress and the peon who, we were sure, knew al ...more
Nilufer
The writings of R.K Narayan have always impressed me. Simple, very imaginative and it carries one into a very pleasant world of its own. Thinking like a 8 year old and all the feelings one experiences then filled me with such enthusiasm.
Kadri
An excellent book about childhood and friendship (and just a little bit of cricket).
Shantanu
Fantastic, fantastic book. Should have read this in the 90s.
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Indian Readers: Swami and Friends (April'12 Group Read) 39 52 May 03, 2012 05:21AM  
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R. K. Narayan is among the best known and most widely read Indian novelists writing 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 there
...more
More about R.K. Narayan...
Malgudi Days The Guide The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic The English Teacher The Man-Eater of Malgudi

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