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Swami and Friends

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  11,760 ratings  ·  453 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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Veekas Ashoka I hope you were able to read the book in time to do well on your exam or assignment, Padmapriya.

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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  11,760 ratings  ·  453 reviews


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Lars Guthrie
Jan 10, 2010 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
...more
Priyanka
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it
*top 10 disappointing reads of 2019*
So glad I am finally done with this beloved children's classic!
I loved the writing style. But somehow I couldn't enjoy this read as much as I had anticipated.

Without a doubt, the author did show his best trying to represent the characters that's relevant to those times. This book was first published in 1935. I appreciate the heavy influence in the writing of all the things that were relevant then. The political upheaval and the unrest; the struggle of the com
...more
Ian Laird
I first read Swami and Friends in 2005, and have re-read it to kick off a little review project

Narayan Project - No. 1 of 26*

This is a beautiful book about childhood, specifically boyhood, told by a master story teller about to begin his long and fruitful creative life.

Famously, Swami and Friends is the work which got RK Narayan his start, when a friend in London showed the manuscript to Graham Greene, leading to its publication, after the friend ignored RKN’s instruction to throw the work into
...more
Annette mathews
Jan 19, 2015 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
...more
Smiley
Aug 21, 2011 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
...more
Padmaja (thebookishtales)
Finished it last night in a single sitting as I wasn't able to sleep 😅 reading this reminded me of my childhood and my heart craved for the innocence of those times. I absolutely love Swami's character since childhood.
Amalie
Nov 23, 2010 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
...more
Bigsna
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian-authors
:-) 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
Aubrey
3.5/5

For some time, there's been a niggling in the back of my mind that every so often jabs me with the realization that I've been rather complacent with my replenishment of Indian literature in my personal collection. A brief overview shows a compendium of writings by Indian women, a couple of postcolonial feminist nonfiction treatises, some biographies, scattered single or double works by a handful of authors, and a work so diasporic in nature that I'm not sure whether it bears mentioning, wit
...more
Daren
This is Narayan's first book, and therefore the first of his famous Malgudi books.

It is a clever book, in its own way - mainly because it gets into the head of a ten year-old boy, living in a small Indian village. Narayan has really nailed this - the things that are important to a ten year-old, the confusion of a ten year-old, the innocent, lack of understanding that a ten year-old has in the ways of the adult world. It also picks up on the simplicity of relationships - the transition of childho
...more
Vikas Singh
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
This is the first book by R.K. Narayan. Graham Greene who helped getting it published called it "A book in ten thousand". Narayan introduces the quaint little town of Malgudi. He beautifully captures the trails and tribulations of a young child and his small dreams and joys. We get to see a very authoritarian society out to stiff out children's natural learning and growing up process. A great read and a great insight into Indian way of life in small town back in 30's.
Smitha Murthy
I needed something ‘light’, and unlike my friend who picks up gory murders as light reading, I turned to the much-loved world of one of India’s most beloved novelists, RK Narayan.

These whimsical tales of a lost childhood were just what I needed. Swami’s capers made me smile and chuckle and forget the world around me a little bit.

A classic children’s treasure.
विकास नैनवाल
It was a delight to meet you again, Swami. I can only say this, we'll meet again soon,my friend. Loved the book. Highly recommended.
Sookie
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was quite close to swami's age when malgudi days aired on TV. The faces on the show were familiar and the stories had a comforting feel to them. Where I am from, swami is a school staple. We see life in a small town where there is a strong British presence in schools and in government offices . Narayan writes about life in such small town where people have now lived for years in a system that looks complacent but the omnipresent head of foreign rule is ever present. Amidst all this we see swam ...more
Surabhi
Mar 23, 2012 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
...more
Rebecca
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian, 2018-reads
So homely, so amusing.. And a bit sad towards the end. R K. N. weaves the story such that I almost believed I was in Malgudi.. Now off to rekindle some nostalgia by watching the DD series on you tube
Sam
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had been in my to-read list for a long, long time and finally, after many years, I got the opportunity to read it and without doubt, it has lived up to its potential! There can never be a book like this one, with simplicity and nostalgia wrapped in every sentence and every incident relating to the innermost core of the heart.

But just reading this book is not sufficient. The television series is a perfect companion after reading R.K Narayan’s books and deserves an award of its own!
Manish Purohit
Apr 25, 2013 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
...more
Zoeb
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Legend has it that 'Swami And Friends' was one of the four books of R.K Narayan that Graham Greene had a lion's share in publishing to the Western world. Had it not been for Greene, we, as a collective human race, would have been deprived of the extraordinary beauty of simplicity and sincerity in prose and literature.

One of the things that makes these wonderful Swami tales stand so tall above their peers of adventures of other intrepid boy heroes is its winsome believability, the sheer serenity
...more
Rishi Prakash
May 24, 2013 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
...more
Mahima
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it
R.K. Narayan's writing is so beautifully simple that you just cannot help but appreciate it. Reading this book was like reading about a place that I have never visited (indeed I have never visited South India), but a place that feels like home. When you read something like this, you realize that when you're an Indian, every place in India, no matter if it is in the South or the North - with all its diversity, it is home.
Sahana
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took me back to childhood, full of innocence and exaggerated drama. Swami's imagination, his inability to do Math, his hatred for school and his loyalty to his friends are some examples of relatable nostalgia. I also have a soft corner for the novel's characters and it's setting. The book reminds me of simpler times and even simpler people, an era that's missing and grossly required in today's world.
Amit
Aug 21, 2011 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
Shruti
I grabbed this book so that i could answer questions like "What elements make Swami and his Friends an evergreen novel"? and hope to score something.
Yes, initially that was the reason. It was part of my Literature syllabus.
Anuja
Apr 25, 2014 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.
Indhumathi
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a cute book.

Swami and Friends is a book about the life of W.S.Swaminathan when he was in classes six and seven(forms I & II). The setting of the book is colonial era India; more particularly the famed fictional town Malgudi.

The best thing about this book is that it explores the mind of a pre-teen boy beautifully. For example, there is a part wherein Swami wonders how maps are drawn and whether he could draw the map of India from the viewpoint of the tallest building in Malgudi, whi
...more
Bookishbong  Moumita
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm someone who has a special corner in her heart for children book. This book is also like that. This kind of books are stress buster and makes you feel better
Prashanthi Kadambi
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This genre of fiction has never lost its charm for me. I indulge in it on the days I crave simple books, and the simple lives that they outline. Somehow, while Tom Sawyer and Richmal Crompton's William were my favourites, I'd never ventured into R K Narayan's writing. This weekend, I decided to remedy that, and this was an effortlessly pleasurable read.
However, this book did not stand out for me. Its magic was somewhat dulled.
Gautam Giri
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Connects you to softer side of yourself. Innocence overloaded. Reminds you to those good old days.
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About RK Narayan 2 4 Jun 06, 2020 06:53AM  
Indian Readers: Swami & Friends (RKN): Rebecca, Sharadha, and Arpit 41 210 Apr 22, 2018 08:30PM  
Indian Readers: Swami and Friends (April'12 Group Read) 39 55 May 03, 2012 05:21AM  

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1,545 followers
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

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