R. K. Narayan (10 October 1906 – 13 May 2001), shortened from Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami, was an Indian writer, best known for his works set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi. He is one of three leading figures of early Indian literature in English (alongsideMulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao), and is credited with bringing the genre to the rest of the world Narayan broke through with the help of his mentor and friend, Graham Greene, who was instrumental in getting publishers for Narayan’s first four books, including the semi-autobiographical trilogy of Swami and Friends, The Bachelor of Arts and The English Teacher. Narayan’s works also include The Financial Expert, hailed as one of the most original works of 1951, and Sahitya Akademi Award winner The Guide, which was adapted for film and for Broadway. The setting for most of Narayan's stories is the fictional town of Malgudi, first introduced in Swami and Friends. His narratives highlight social context and provide a feel for his characters through everyday life. He has been compared to William Faulkner, who also created a fictional town that stood for reality, brought out the humour and energy of ordinary life, and displayed compassionate humanism in his writing. Narayan's short story writing style has been compared to that of Guy de Maupassant, as they both have an ability to compress the narrative without losing out on elements of the story. Narayan has also come in for criticism for being too simple in his prose and diction. In a writing career that spanned over sixty years, Narayan received many awards and honours. These include the AC Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature and the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award. He was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house ofIndia's parliament. Life and career
R. K. Narayan was born in Madras (now Chennai), Madras Presidency, British India. His father was a school headmaster, and Narayan did some of his studies at his father's school. As his father's job required frequent moves, Narayan spent part of his childhood under the care of his maternal grandmother, Parvati. During this time his best friends and playmates were a peacock and a mischievous monkey. His grandmother gave him the nickname of Kunjappa, a name that stuck to him in family circles. She taught him arithmetic, mythology, classical Indian music and Sanskrit. According to his youngest brother R. K. Laxman, the family mostly conversed in English, and grammatical errors on the part of Narayan and his siblings were frowned upon. While living with his grandmother, Narayan studied at a succession of schools in Madras, including the Lutheran Mission School in Purasawalkam, C.R.C. High School, and the Christian College High School. Narayan was an avid reader, and his early literary diet included Dickens, Wodehouse, Arthur Conan Doyle and Thomas Hardy. When he was twelve years old, Narayan participated in a pro-independence march, for which he was reprimanded by his uncle; the family was apolitical and considered all governments wicked. Narayan moved to Mysore to live with his family when his father was transferred to the Maharajah's Collegiate High School. The well-stocked library at the school, as well as his father's own, fed his reading habit, and he started writing as well. After completing high school, Narayan failed the university entrance examination and spent a year at home reading and writing; he subsequently passed the examination in 1926 and joined Maharaja College of Mysore. It took Narayan four years to obtain his Bachelor's degree, a year longer than usual. After being persuaded by a friend that taking a Master's degree (M.A.) would kill his interest in literature, he briefly held a job as a school teacher; however, he quit in protest when the headmaster of the school asked him to substitute for the physical training...
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