Swami and Friends is the first of a trilogy of novels written by RK Narayan, a celebrated English novelist from India. RK Narayan started his prolific writing career with this novel Swami and Friends written in 1935. It is full of humor and irony. Narayan started writing this novel with the words “It was Monday morning…” to the auspicious time his grandmother chose for him. Like many of his fictional grandmothers, he was close to his grandmother who was well versed with astrology. Despite this it took time for the budding writer to be acknowledged as an author. Fortunately for him, he had helped from many quarters, such as the well-established author British author Graham Green. He called Swami and Friends a work of “remarkable maturity, and of the finest promise…and is the boldest gamble a novelist can take. If he allows himself to take sides, moralise, propaganda, he can easily achieve an extra-literary interest, but if he follows Mr. Narayan’s method, he stakes all on his creative power.” The novel is set in pre-independence days in India, in a fictional town – Malgudi, which has almost become a real place in India today, due to the wide recognition and popularity of Narayan’s many novels. His novels are known for their ‘deftly etched characters, his uniquely stylized language and his wry sense of humor’. Swami and Friends is the story of a 10-year-old boy, growing up during this particular time, his innocence, wonder, mischief and growing pains. He is a student at Albert Mission School, a school established by the British which gives importance to Christianity, English literature and education. His life is dramatically changed when Rajam – a symbol of colonial super power – joins the school and he and Rajam become friends.
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