Malgudi Days

Topics: Literature, Rudyard Kipling, Literary criticism Pages: 2 (520 words) Published: November 16, 2014
Malgudi Days is a very special book, but it also may well be a book for special tastes. A collection of thirty-two stories, most of which have been selected from two previously published collections, An Astrologer’s Day and Other Stories (1947) and Lawley Road (1956),Malgudi Days offers a mosaic of a life that seems to belong to a lost time. The tone of the stories belongs to the nineteenth century, to the world of Rudyard Kipling and O. Henry, to the days when stories were expected to have neat little plots, a touch of irony, and a surprise ending. R. K. Narayan has long ago mastered his form and techniques, but the result is a body of work that is not for everyone’s taste. Narayan, over several productive decades, has written eleven novels, several collections of stories, a memoir, and new versions of several classic Indian epics. He is, without question, what used to be called “a man of letters.” The recipient of many awards for his writing—both individual prizes for specific works and awards acknowledging the merit of his entire body of work—Narayan is considered one of India’s most distinguished authors. Although approaching eighty, he continues to write, still adding to his monumental picture of Indian life during the twentieth century. In some respects, Narayan might be compared to William Faulkner, Honoré de Balzac, or to other writers who carried in their imagination the vast landscape of an entire culture, and who re-created that culture in volume after volume. Many of Narayan’s stories possess a folktale quality, a sense of collective memory being shared with the reader much as an elderly relative might tell old stories to children around a fire at night—or as a visitor might regale a friend against his will with story after story. Most of the brief tales in Malgudi Days are remembered from previous times, ranging from not long ago to decades earlier. The result is a patchwork-quilt effect, with splashes of color and subtle vignettes working together...
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