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Four gems, with new introductions, mark acclaimed Indian writer R. K. Narayan's centennial

Introducing this collection of stories, R. K. Narayan describes how in India "the writer has only to look out of the window to pick up a character and thereby a story." Composed of powerful, magical portraits of all kinds of people, and comprising stories written over almost forty years, Malgudi Days presents Narayan's imaginary city in full color, revealing the essence of India and of human experience. This edition includes an introduction by Pulitzer Prize- winning author Jhumpa Lahiri. 

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: Penguin Group on
ISBN: 9781440674631
List price: $12.99
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Reading these stories I realized how much India has changed, but people remain the same. Living in a suburb, I cannot relate to all the characters but there are several that I can identify. He's a true master.more
Perhaps the less acquainted one is with India the more impressed one might be by these stories. I can't otherwise explain their popularity. I don't mean that unkindly, they are a wonderful insight into the real India, of town and villages. And yes, they are universal tales of adversity, triumph and despair set on the human scale. Stories of the good and the morally ambiguous that resonate with the reader. But my strongest impression of Narayan here is that he tries too hard to search out the pathos and the moral fable. You can see what he is aiming at. These should be tales of the slightest events that touch a person momentarily, but send ripples out that disturb (and mark their real significance to) the universe - visible to those that make the effort to see, or feel. So that the reader steps forward toward the story and becomes part of the process of telling and listening. But the deftness I'm looking for isn't there, for the most part. Too often these stories seem to shout at the reader. The events and characters are blunt, but that's expected. In short stories, and moral fables, the characters and events are in many ways ciphers - they carry the story and the idea along. My grievance is with the fabric of the stories, the warp and weft. Essentially it's the lack of elaboration, the tone of the story-teller, that I miss in these stories. That said, there are some gems here. And they nearly all relate to stories of cats and dogs. How do I rate this book then? Well, sort the wheat from the chaff, and treasure the gems.more
Malgudi Days, written by R.K Narayan, chronicles the lives of people in the fictional town of Malgudi. The stories, which share the lives of everyone from entrepreneurs to beggars, all take place in and near this Indian village. Thus the heart and the soul of that village is on display and we find it is a place where most people are haunted by illiteracy and unemployment. Yet despite the ubiquity of the poor many of the stories come across with humorous good-natured episodes of their lives. Among the stories the reader meets an astrologer, a gatekeeper, and a young man yearning to pass the examinations. There are also animals including a forlorn dog who befriends a blind man and a ferocious tiger (perhaps a hint of Narayan's short novel, A Tiger for Malgudi). Above all there is a pervasive irony that reminded me of other short story stylists from O'Henry to Chekhov and Gogol. More often a character's dreams or expectations do not lead to the results he desires. This keeps the reader guessing as to what the next story will show in the lives of people who become endlessly fascinating, if only for the reason that you have met them before in your own town. In his introduction R. K. Narayan observes that "I can detect Malgudi characters even in New York: for instance, West Twenty-third Street . . possesses every element of Malgudi, with its landmarks and humanity remaining unchanged--"(p 2).Following publication of this collection, the stories in this book were made into both serials and cinema. Through these tales the author, R.K Narayan, captures the readers' heart with his journey through the village of Malgudi and its' not so unfamiliar denizens.more
Sweet collection of short stories set in a small South Indian town. A highlight for me was the story about the Astrologer.more
No one has captured the essence of rural India like R.K. Narayan and Maligudi Days is a glittering example. Each story stands out for its simplicity, innocence and Indianness. A must and a thorougly enjoyable read. The TV series of the same name has done complete justice to the original book.more
This is one more favourite from childhood days. The author, R. K. Naryayan wrote many loveable books such as Swami and Friends, etc. According to Narayan, Malgudi is a village "inhabited by timeless characters who could be living anywhere in the world" and is located on the banks of river Sarayu and surrounded by the Mempi Hills. Malgudi Days was televised as a serial in India and was immensely popular. It is now available in the U.S. also on DVD. Both his books and the televised version are equally enjoyable. On a visit to the state of Karnataka in India, I passed through the village of Malgudi, where the author R.K. Narayan grew up and it was a pleasurable moment to connect the actual village with the book and author.more
I simply love these stories. So lucid, simple and takes you to the heart of India.more
Read all 8 reviews

Reviews

Reading these stories I realized how much India has changed, but people remain the same. Living in a suburb, I cannot relate to all the characters but there are several that I can identify. He's a true master.more
Perhaps the less acquainted one is with India the more impressed one might be by these stories. I can't otherwise explain their popularity. I don't mean that unkindly, they are a wonderful insight into the real India, of town and villages. And yes, they are universal tales of adversity, triumph and despair set on the human scale. Stories of the good and the morally ambiguous that resonate with the reader. But my strongest impression of Narayan here is that he tries too hard to search out the pathos and the moral fable. You can see what he is aiming at. These should be tales of the slightest events that touch a person momentarily, but send ripples out that disturb (and mark their real significance to) the universe - visible to those that make the effort to see, or feel. So that the reader steps forward toward the story and becomes part of the process of telling and listening. But the deftness I'm looking for isn't there, for the most part. Too often these stories seem to shout at the reader. The events and characters are blunt, but that's expected. In short stories, and moral fables, the characters and events are in many ways ciphers - they carry the story and the idea along. My grievance is with the fabric of the stories, the warp and weft. Essentially it's the lack of elaboration, the tone of the story-teller, that I miss in these stories. That said, there are some gems here. And they nearly all relate to stories of cats and dogs. How do I rate this book then? Well, sort the wheat from the chaff, and treasure the gems.more
Malgudi Days, written by R.K Narayan, chronicles the lives of people in the fictional town of Malgudi. The stories, which share the lives of everyone from entrepreneurs to beggars, all take place in and near this Indian village. Thus the heart and the soul of that village is on display and we find it is a place where most people are haunted by illiteracy and unemployment. Yet despite the ubiquity of the poor many of the stories come across with humorous good-natured episodes of their lives. Among the stories the reader meets an astrologer, a gatekeeper, and a young man yearning to pass the examinations. There are also animals including a forlorn dog who befriends a blind man and a ferocious tiger (perhaps a hint of Narayan's short novel, A Tiger for Malgudi). Above all there is a pervasive irony that reminded me of other short story stylists from O'Henry to Chekhov and Gogol. More often a character's dreams or expectations do not lead to the results he desires. This keeps the reader guessing as to what the next story will show in the lives of people who become endlessly fascinating, if only for the reason that you have met them before in your own town. In his introduction R. K. Narayan observes that "I can detect Malgudi characters even in New York: for instance, West Twenty-third Street . . possesses every element of Malgudi, with its landmarks and humanity remaining unchanged--"(p 2).Following publication of this collection, the stories in this book were made into both serials and cinema. Through these tales the author, R.K Narayan, captures the readers' heart with his journey through the village of Malgudi and its' not so unfamiliar denizens.more
Sweet collection of short stories set in a small South Indian town. A highlight for me was the story about the Astrologer.more
No one has captured the essence of rural India like R.K. Narayan and Maligudi Days is a glittering example. Each story stands out for its simplicity, innocence and Indianness. A must and a thorougly enjoyable read. The TV series of the same name has done complete justice to the original book.more
This is one more favourite from childhood days. The author, R. K. Naryayan wrote many loveable books such as Swami and Friends, etc. According to Narayan, Malgudi is a village "inhabited by timeless characters who could be living anywhere in the world" and is located on the banks of river Sarayu and surrounded by the Mempi Hills. Malgudi Days was televised as a serial in India and was immensely popular. It is now available in the U.S. also on DVD. Both his books and the televised version are equally enjoyable. On a visit to the state of Karnataka in India, I passed through the village of Malgudi, where the author R.K. Narayan grew up and it was a pleasurable moment to connect the actual village with the book and author.more
I simply love these stories. So lucid, simple and takes you to the heart of India.more
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