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Swami and Friends

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,377 Ratings  ·  212 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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Lars Guthrie
Jan 10, 2010 Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 12, 2011 Priyanka rated it really liked it
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
Annette mathews
May 05, 2015 Annette mathews rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian-fiction
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
Aug 29, 2011 umberto rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Dec 11, 2014 Amalie rated it really liked it
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
Jul 04, 2013 Bigsna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
:-) 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
Mar 23, 2012 Surabhi rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
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
Dec 30, 2014 Rajat rated it really liked it
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.
Manish Purohit
Sep 22, 2013 Manish Purohit rated it really liked it
"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
Rishi Prakash
May 29, 2013 Rishi Prakash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 11, 2012 Ajay rated it liked it
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
Sep 26, 2011 Dana rated it it was amazing
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
Karthik Sharvirala
Sep 13, 2015 Karthik Sharvirala rated it it was amazing
If I would want to truly visit a fictional town in this world ,it should be malgudi. Looks like this town has got everything in it what India could offer during it's imperial British reign.There is no greater creativeness than an book by an author who writes so elusively and enchantingly narrated in a ten year kid's perspective. If John Boyne gave us the finest Holocaust story through his book 'The boy in the Striped pajamas' narrated in a completely child's perspective, R.K Narayan didn't seem ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian-lit, fiction
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
Sep 26, 2011 Amit rated it really liked it
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
Jun 20, 2014 Anuja rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 26, 2013 Kadbury rated it liked it
Shelves: course
Not as preachy as I remembered it to be .
Jyothi Menon
Oct 21, 2014 Jyothi Menon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: india, humour
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
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
Fiza Pathan
Oct 29, 2012 Fiza Pathan rated it it was amazing
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
Shreedhar Manek
Feb 29, 2016 Shreedhar Manek rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian-authors
The likability of this book depends entirely on how much one can relate with it and empathize with its characters. RK Narayan has done a wonderful fleshing out his characters from the perspective of an Indian kid in times before independence. His writing is descriptive and choice of words beautiful.

Having said the above, I have to say I'm surprised to see certain aspects of the kids' behaviour. There were a lot of bits where the kids talked about killing and I reallly couldn't see myself doing t
Sep 26, 2013 Vaidya rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 13, 2016 Rishit rated it it was amazing
I have read this book in class 6. It was there in my syllabus. I remember the teacher use to read aloud the book nd we use to laugh a lot on the funny nd critical situations in the life of 'Swami and his friends.' This book is really very humourous nd heart touching! R.K. Narayan was really one of the best writer India ever had! And I proudly say that u pick up any book of
his nd u will not be disappointed at all!
Jun 15, 2015 Vivek rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Surbhi Ahluwalia
Jul 05, 2012 Surbhi Ahluwalia rated it it was amazing

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
Ranjyoti Prakash
Nov 25, 2014 Ranjyoti Prakash rated it really liked it
Will take you down in to the memory lanes of your childhood. Loved it.
Jul 27, 2015 Anuradha rated it really liked it
I read Swami & Friends as a prescribed text for my MA course and it was the first time I read R.K.Narayan.

What struck me immediately was the sense of simplicity and unhurried pace that Mr.Narayan used to write the stories. I've read many books and the authors (wuth due respect to them) are always in a hurry to get somewhere. The plot is in a hurry to go somewhere, may be as a buildup to a twist in the tale or towards a mostly explosive climax.

While reading the book,in my mind's eye, I could
Nandasiri Wanninayaka
Aug 21, 2014 Nandasiri Wanninayaka rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 05, 2014 Abhirami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian-authors
a really good book!
Rubal Mittal
Jul 11, 2015 Rubal Mittal rated it liked it
This was not my first book by R.K. Narayan, I have read Malgudi days before and needless to say his eloquent writing style is unparalleled.Those who say, simple English can't have that enchanting hold needs to read this instead of Chetan Bhagat!
The sentences are framed such a way that despite of using simple phrases they have a beauty in them, which enchants the reader to sail with the flow. When he relates you the scene of the river you cannot stop yourself from imagining its flow and surroundi
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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
More about R.K. Narayan...

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