Remembering R K Narayan – Doyen of Indian Literature in English

October 10, 2014 Remembering R K Narayan – Doyen of Indian Literature in English @TheRoyaleIndia 1110 0 0

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Aptly written by R K Narayan, ‘It is written on the brow of some that they shall not be left alone. I am one such, I think.’ in his novel, The Guide, for we remember him on his 108th birthday which falls on October 10, 2014.

Considered as one of the most prolific Indian writers to have written in English, R K Narayan’s novels have been interesting reads from the times they have been published. Compared to Anton Chekov, his novels permit the reader to walk down the streets of Malgudi Days and transform into one of his characters.

His Works

books by rk narayan @TheRoyaleIndia

In all, R K Narayan has written innumerable novels, nonfiction books, mythology books and even short story collections. Prominent of these being Swami and Friends, The English Teach, The Bachelor of Arts, in fact these three have been almost autobiographical in nature. His non-fiction works include Next Sunday, My Dateless Diary, Reluctant Guru, The Emerald Route while Gods, Demons and Others, The Ramayana and The Mahabharata are his writings on mythology.


Interested readers could acquaint themselves with the fictitious village in South India named Malgudi by him as described in his novel Malgudi Days to get a better idea about his growing up years. In fact, a TV series of the same name been aired on Doordarshan in the year 1986.

rk narayan @TheRoyaleIndia

Many of his writings have been adapted too, for instance The Guide was made into a film called Guide by Vijay Anand while a Broadway play was also staged by the same name. The television series Malgudi Days made by Shankar Nag comprises of adaptations of his short stories from Swami and Friends and the Vendor of Sweets.

Writing style

R K Narayan wrote in a descriptive style though his characters and events were ordinary occurrences, the reader to connect with them through their description in the most apt way. His writings and genre related to the ordinary man in a very realistic manner. His characters were mostly ordinary people whom you could relate to daily – the hair dresser, the hotel owner; the non-descript railway station and its master, neighbors and all.


R K Narayan found a mentor and friend in Graham Greene, a world acclaimed author who was instrumental in getting many of his books published. In fact as Graham Greene is known to have said – “Whom next shall I meet in Malgudi? That is the thought that comes to me when I close a novel of Mr. Narayan’s. I do not wait for another novel. I wait to go out of my door into those loved and shabby streets and see with excitement and a certainty of pleasure a stranger approaching, past the bank, the cinema, the haircutting saloon, a stranger who will greet me I know with some unexpected and revealing phrase that will open a door on to yet another human existence.

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