That R.K.Narayan was a natural writer is no revelation, and it is obvious why the beauty of his writings hasn’t faded away. The author whose name is synonymous with Malgudi, has written quite a few novels for adults too. Like the popular one ‘The Guide’, made into a movie by Dev Anand. In ‘Waiting for the Mahatma’, he introduces Gandhi as a character against the backdrop of political revolution. He contrasts the ideals of Gandhi with the view of struggle. In ‘The Vendor of Sweets’ the generation gap between a foreign-returned and educated son and his father forms the crux of the novel. Or take ‘The World of Nagaraj’, his penultimate novel where just like the previous stories, simplicity is of essence. His autobiography titled, My Days reveals the intimate details of an Indian joint family.
Readability is one of the traits which is consistent in most of R.K. Narayan’s works. He expertly takes you through Indian landscapes and makes the fictitious town of Malgudi come alive. This book contains excerpts from his autobiography, novels, an overview of his essays, short stories and travel writing. It is an apt selection for the summer. With every passing hour the sun forces you to retreat inside, and with ‘The Malgudi Landscapes’ you can select from the varied writings of Narayan.
‘The Malgudi Landscapes’ is edited by S.Krishnan and introduces us to his connection with Narayan. He reveals that Narayan could quote Omar Khayyam with the same passion as Macbeth. Each excerpt starts with an Editor’s Note that gives you a brief background of the story. A simple collection of the best of Narayan’s writings, this book is a worthy read.
If you have already read ‘Malgudi Landscapes’, you might also like ‘By the Tungabhadra’
Written in 1965 by Saradindu Bandopadhyay, By the Tungabhadra has been translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha. This is the story of the Vijayanagar and Kalinga empire. How an alliance of marriage between their prince and princess changes the dynamics of the kingdom. Termed as historical fiction, the simple story will grip you. The original novel was titled ‘Tungabhadrar Teere’.