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The Financial Expert

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,322 ratings  ·  105 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 1951)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  1,322 ratings  ·  105 reviews


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Jim Fonseca
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian-authors
(Contains spoilers although the Editor’s Preface and Author’s Introduction tell us the plot of the book.)

A story from India in the 1950’s. Margayya is a petty moneylender conducting his business under a tree outside a bank in south India. He helps local folks, many of whom are illiterate, to fill out bank forms. Meanwhile he personally lends out small amounts and collects debts. The bank people treat him with contempt and try to chase him away. He has a wife and one son, but he’s dissatisfied wi
...more
Vikas Singh
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
The first book R.K. Narayan wrote which is not autobiographical in nature and hence an interesting read. The plot deals with lapses in the organised banking sector and the unscrupulous world of the money lenders. The story line has many ups and downs and grips your attention. The climax makes you ponder how to exactly place the protagonist. Overall a good and intense read
Hirdesh
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lovely book.
Review tomorrow.
Govind Sharma
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great climax with a Ponzi scheme going awry.
Diane Lynn
Jun 08, 2013 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
Jeni Shah
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
The book is beautiful in so many ways.
Even today, you will find a couple of families in innumerable towns of India living this story.
For those who are the audience to these gossips, it is a beautiful and captivating narrative to the entire picture.
The author's brilliance shines in confronting with those angles of relationships between father-son, husband-wife, which are muted within us.
...more
Rishi Prakash
Jul 07, 2013 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
...more
Katerina
May 26, 2014 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
...more
Smitha Murthy
I am not quite sure why I am rating this book 3 because I enjoyed the book immensely. Narayan's wit and humor is evident here in his story about the travails of a 'financial expert.' It is typical of Narayan to comment on the Indian societal mores where anyone can become an 'expert' on anything. His social acumen and insight remains outstanding.

Maybe, having just read a few of Narayan's novels by now, I yearn perhaps for a bolder stroke. I know that is wishful thinking - Narayan wrote very well
...more
Daniel
Aug 16, 2007 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. ...more
Moushine Zahr
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the first time I've read a book from Indian author R.K. Narayan. Although this book was first published in 1957, the sub-themes of financial fraud and bank loan burdens are still very much of actuality today and a global phenomenon. Thus, readers from all over the world can enjoy reading this book.

In this book, the author analyzes closely the tight relationship between money and the leading character, from his early poor beginning as a "financial consultant" to peasants in need of bank
...more
Purvi Petal
Jun 12, 2015 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
...more
James Henderson
Mar 06, 2009 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
Sankrutyayan
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
Kunal Lad
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the very first books on Business and finance coming out of India. If you understand all that this book is trying to convey, it is a treasure of knowledge! Through the story of Margayya we understand money, the value of scale in business, the complicated relationship between thrift and riches, a man's, even a strong man's weakness for his progeny, how trust can lead to a smart man's undoing and above all else, greed - both in ourselves and of others. This book gets far less credit that it ...more
Jasveer Singh
May 08, 2013 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
...more
Kaustuv Baral
Jul 08, 2013 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
Surabhi Sharma
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
This is what we all do running behind money. First we think money brings happiness, then money is the happiness and last money is the only thing we left with.
The protagonist wants to give his only son the best of everything, he did everything he could but his son shattered his every dream from failed in higher secondary exam (multiple times year by year) to running from home.
After standing on piles of bundles of money he realized when he had no money he was in peace.
Money is needed for survival
...more
Sneha N
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, fiction
This is my first RK Narayan novel.
Overall rating 3.25/5
Story 4/5
Characters 3.5/5

This is a classic example of life, luck, hard work & arrogance.

Each time Margayya experiences a down curve in life, he manages to over come it. He is a father who does anything for his child. His life was a roller coaster ride.

A son who depends on his father for his living, who wastes his father's money . A mother who is helpless.

There is a movie adaptation from this novel in Kannada language "Banker Margayya" , well
...more
Anil
Aug 23, 2011 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! ...more
Sujan Azad Parikh
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Financial Expert is RK Narayan's novel of 1952. It is based on the city of Malgudi, like many other novels and short stories by this author. The central character in this book is the financial expert Margayya, who offers advice under the banyan tree to his fellow townspeople. He is a man of many aspirations and this novel goes deep into the psychological and basic concepts of life-based on the minds of the people and the surroundings. Worth Reading. ...more
E.J. Cullen
Jan 29, 2010 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. ...more
Ajitabh Pandey
The author R.K. Narayan has created a funny character in this book. Overall a decent read. ...more
Swateek
Nov 04, 2014 rated it liked it
A typical RK Narayan story, of the struggle in the life of a common man almost a hundred years ago. The story buildup and ending always has been the catchy part of his books. Good read.
Kunal Kajal
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of my friends were recommending me R.K Narayan Books to me to read, so I decided to give it a go and I liked it more than I have thought it to be.

The financial expert is the story of margayya a complex character sits besides a baniyan tree and offers loans and banking services to villagers but one day his spoilt son balu throws is account book in the gutter, which cuts short his career as a accountant but after that there are a series of amusing events that rewards him prosperity.

The book i
...more
Mike Stewart
This book has sat on my shelf since round 1966 when I was enrolled in the Time-Life Reading Program. Somehow I never got around to reading it, not sure why. It's the story of Margayya, a small-time operator in a mid-sized Indian city in the 1930's and 40's. Margayya ekes out a living on the fringes of the financial industry, making small loans, assisting villagers with loan applications, etc. He is enormously self-important, condescending and rude in his treatment of his clients, suspicious and ...more
Bhuprakash
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s the story of rise and downfall of an overambitious miser Margayya of Malgudi. Told in the same Narayanian comical vein, the novel presents the socioeconomic affairs of India including caste system, social taboos, Hindu religious and astrological beliefs during the time.

The protagonist accumulates great wealth through various exploitative banking schemes targeting the illiterate villagers, but the urban dwellers are no exception. As he aggregates wealth, gradually he loses the peace of mind
...more
Gayaprashad Saravanabhavan
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great book by R.K.Narayan , and one of the best in the malgudi series. The story revolves around a man named Margayya, a money lender by profession and his journey towards fortune and his later downhill tumble.The storystarts with margayya being furious at his financial state and resolving to increasing it.This leads him to take on various journeys and endeavours in life through which he accumulates a lot of his wealth but which he ultimately looses due to his greedy.

The book explores the them
...more
Abhishek
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another tale from hinterlands of Malgudi (Indian Gotham sans superhero) - the tale is the simplistic trademark of R.K.Narayanan.
It feels strange that even after a century - banking and relations have not grown much - just the means have.

A self-made man, his idle life-partner, a friend turns foe and a wasted child. (Jist)
But,
The story is not in the plot but the expression. The truth about relationships settles like dew drops in the crisp, heated sentences of reality. Magayya ends up another v
...more
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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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