James's Reviews > Malgudi Days

Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayan
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May 30, 11

bookshelves: kurzgeschichte, u-of-chicago, asian-lit
Read from May 27 to 30, 2011

Malgudi Days, written by R.K Narayan, chronicles the lives of people in the fictional town of Malgudi. The stories, which share the lives of everyone from entrepreneurs to beggars, all take place in and near this Indian village. Thus the heart and the soul of that village is on display and we find it is a place where most people are haunted by illiteracy and unemployment. Yet despite the ubiquity of the poor many of the stories come across with humorous good-natured episodes of their lives. Among the stories the reader meets an astrologer, a gatekeeper, and a young man yearning to pass the examinations. There are also animals including a forlorn dog who befriends a blind man and a ferocious tiger (perhaps a hint of Narayan's short novel, A Tiger for Malgudi). Above all there is a pervasive irony that reminded me of other short story stylists from O'Henry to Chekhov and Gogol. More often a character's dreams or expectations do not lead to the results he desires. This keeps the reader guessing as to what the next story will show in the lives of people who become endlessly fascinating, if only for the reason that you have met them before in your own town. In his introduction R. K. Narayan observes that "I can detect Malgudi characters even in New York: for instance, West Twenty-third Street . . possesses every element of Malgudi, with its landmarks and humanity remaining unchanged--"(p 2).
Following publication of this collection, the stories in this book were made into both serials and cinema. Through these tales the author, R.K Narayan, captures the readers' heart with his journey through the village of Malgudi and its' not so unfamiliar denizens.
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