Thursday, May 22, 2008

R. K. Narayan (1906 -2001)


R. K. Narayan was born in Madras in 1906 and educated there and at Maharajah's College in Mysore. He has lived in India ever since, apart from his travels. Most of his work, starting from his first novel Swami and friends (1935) is set in the fictional town of Malgudi which at the same time captures everything Indian while having a unique identity of its own. After having read only a few of his books it is difficult to shake off the feeling that you have vicariously lived in this town. Malgudi is perhaps the single most endearing "character" R. K. Narayan has ever created.

He has published numerous novels, five collections of short stories (A Horse and Two Goats, An Astrologer's Day, Lawley Road, Malgudi Days, and The Grandmother's Tale), two travel books (My Dateless Diary and The Emerald Route), four collections of essays (Next Sunday, Reluctant Guru, A Writer's Nightmare, and A Story-Teller's World), a memoir (My Days), and some translations of Indian epics and myths (The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, and Gods, Demons and Others).

In 1980, R. K. Narayan was awarded the A.C. Benson award by the Royal Society of Literature and was made an Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1989 he was made a member of the Rajya Sabha (the non-elective House of Parliament in India). He received the Sahitya Akademi Award for The Guide (1958).

R. K. Narayan's full name is Rasipuram Krishnaswami Ayyar Naranayanaswami. In his early years he signed his name as R. K. Narayanaswami, but apparently at the time of the publication of Swami and Friends, he shortened it to R. K. Narayan on Graham Greene's suggestion."(from R. K. Narayan:
a Profile)

Novels

* Swami and Friends (1935)
* The Bachelor of Arts (1937)
* The Dark Room (1938)
* The English Teacher (1945)
* Mr. Sampath - The Printer of Malgudi (1949)
* The Financial Expert (1952)
* Waiting for the Mahatma (1955)
* The Guide (1958)
* The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961)
* The Vendor of Sweets (1967)
* The Painter of Signs (1976)
* A Tiger for Malgudi (1983)
* Talkative Man (1986)
* The World of Nagaraj (1990)
* A Grandmother's Tale (1994)

Collections

* The World of Malgudi (2000)
* Salt and Sawdust: Stories and Table-Talk

Short Story Collections

An asterisk indicates a collection published only in India.

* Dodu and Other Stories (1943)*
* Cyclone and Other Stories (1945)*
* An Astrologer's Day and Other Short Stories (1947)
* Lawley Road and Other Stories (1956)*
* A Horse and Two Goats (1970)
* Malgudi Days (1982)
* Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories (1985)
* The Grandmother's Tale and Selected Stories (1993)
* The Watchman
* Fruition at Forty

Non-Fiction

* Next Sunday (1960)
* My Dateless Diary (1964)
* My Days (1974)
* The Emerald Route (1980)
* A Writer's Nightmare (1988)
* Like The Sun

Mythology

* Gods, Demons and Others (1965)
* The Ramayana (1972)
* The Mahabharata (1972)


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