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This article is a tribute to R.K.Narayan (October 1907-2001), one of the best-known Indian English writers. Through this article I intend to introduce the writer (who need’s no introduction) and his works and  more importantly the critical appreciation of R.K.Narayan’s works.

Introduction: R.K.Narayan is one of the well-known Indian English writer who embarked into the Indian literary scene during the Gandhian era*. He is considered as one of the early and leading Indian writers in English.

Early life: His family hails from Rasipuram (The ‘R’ of R.K.Narayan takes the first initial of his name from here), a taluq in the district of Salem in Southern India. He was born (October 1907) in Madras and soon after his birth, his father Krishnaswami Iyer ((The ‘K’ of R.K.Narayan takes the second initial of his name after his father’s name) took an job in Mysore and the family moved there.

Trivia: The general practice in Southern India is to precede or succeed the name with initials. The two initials preceding Narayan stands respectively for the village from which Narayan’s family hails from and the name of his father. For instance take my name too ;)

Celebrity Linkage: R.K.Narayan is the brother of R.K.Laxman, the famous Indian cartoonist and illustrator known for his renowned cartoon ‘The Common Man’.

Underlying Theme of the Writer’s works: R.K.Narayan’s works mainly deals with ordinary people, who can be referred to as ‘The Common Man’ of India. The characters of his works are simple, belonging to the Indian middle class one can easily relate to. The intricacies in the Indian society are also dealt in a subtle manner with a touch of humor.

My connection with the Writer: The ‘Regal Connection’! We share the memories of the beautiful Royal ‘Mysore’ where we stayed and were brought up, though in different time periods. The characters and the settings of his works are very much linked to the old Mysore, which I could connect to.

R.K.Narayan’s major works are: (Follow the hyperlink for the review of the work)

Novels:

  • Swami and Friends (1935)
  • The Bachelor of Arts (1937)
  • The Dark Room (1938)
  • The English Teacher (1945)
  • Mr.Sampath (1949)
  • The Financial Expert (1952)
  • Waiting for the Mahatma (1955)
  • The Guide (1958)
  • The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1962)
  • The Sweet-Vendor (1967)

Collection of short stories:

  • Malgudi Days (1941)
  • Dodu and other stories (1943)
  • Cyclone and other stories (1944)
  • An Astrologer’s Day and other stories (1947)
  • Lawley Road and other stories (1956)
  • A Horse ad Two Goats (1970)

Note: *Gandhian Era: The period from 1920 to 147 has been described as the ‘Gandhian Era’ in Indian Politics.

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