Swami and Friends

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University of Chicago Press, 1980 - Fiction - 184 pages
16 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 gratitude, for he has offered me a second home. Without him I could never have known what it is like to be Indian."—Graham Greene

Offering rare insight into the complexities of Indian middle-class society, R. K. Narayan traces life in the fictional town of Malgudi. The Dark Room is a searching look at a difficult marriage and a woman who eventually rebels against the demands of being a good and obedient wife. In Mr. Sampath, a newspaper man tries to keep his paper afloat in the face of social and economic changes sweeping India. Narayan writes of youth and young adulthood in the semiautobiographical Swami and Friends and The Bachelor of Arts. Although the ordinary tensions of maturing are heightened by the particular circumstances of pre-partition India, Narayan provides a universal vision of childhood, early love and grief.

"The experience of reading one of his novels is . . . comparable to one's first reaction to the great Russian novels: the fresh realization of the common humanity of all peoples, underlain by a simultaneous sense of strangeness—like one's own reflection seen in a green twilight."—Margaret Parton, New York Herald Tribune

"The novels of R.K. Narayan are the best I have read in any language for a long time. . . . His work gives the conviction that it is possible to capture in English, a language not born of India, the distinctive characteristics of Indian family life."—Amit Roy, Daily Telegraph
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pathan.fiza - LibraryThing

Malgudi Schooldays was actually published as `Swami & Friends' when R. K. Narayan first wrote the stories of his child character Swaminathan & his adventures. We all love to read most of the time if ... Read full review

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This book is simply a great book to me. In a nutshell I felt like going to past and be a bit more mischievous. Even though I was mischievous I feel that I would do more like the main role of this book, Swami has done. I think many of us who has schooled here still have to do boring things like Swami was asked by his teachers to do. I still remember I have undergone boring drill practices when I was a little boy like Sawmi. But I couldn't run out of the class when some nasty teacher is going to hit me.
I wish I had courage to do so. The writer successfully takes us to the world of Swami, making a movie of a small town of India a half a century ago, and blame Sawami when he neglected his Granny and feel sad when Rajam left the town.
Lastly I think even in this modern computer age we find the childhood is the most fascinating period of life, in where we were pure like crystal water and enjoy the life with simple things without stress.
So I would like to shelf this novel with "Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window" in mind as memos of my childhood which was beautiful as that of Sawami and Totto- Chan.
 

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Contents

I
1
II
11
III
19
IV
28
V
35
VI
42
VII
47
VIII
50
XI
78
XII
94
XIII
108
XIV
123
XV
138
XVI
154
XVII
159
XVIII
171

IX
60
X
66
XIX
179
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About the author (1980)

R. K. Narayan (1906-2001) was one of the most prominent Indian novelists of the twentieth century. Most of his stories are set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi, a place that Narayan populated with numerous characters. He was the recipient of_many awards for his work including the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy, India's highest literary honor. In 1980 he was awarded the AC Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature, of which he was an honorary member and in 1982 he was elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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