R. K. Narayan (1906—2001) witnessed nearly a century of change in his native India and captured it in fiction of uncommon warmth and vibrancy. Swami and Friends introduces us to Narayan’s beloved fictional town of Malgudi, where ten-year-old Swaminathan’s excitement about his country’s initial stirrings for independence competes with his ardor for cricket and all other things British. Written during British rule, this novel brings colonial India into intimate focus through the narrative gifts of this master of literary realism.
R. K. Narayan (1906–2001), born and educated in India, was the author of fourteen novels, numerous short stories and essays, a memoir, and three retold myths. His work, championed by Graham Greene, who became a close friend, was often compared to that of Dickens, Chekhov, Faulkner, and Flannery O'Connor, among others. October 10, 2006, is the centennial of Narayan's birth.
“There are writers–Tolstoy and Henry James to name two–whom we hold in awe, writers–Turgenev and Chekhov–for whom we feel a personal affection, other writers whom we respect–Conrad for example–but who hold us at a long arm’s length with their ‘courtly foreign grace.’ Narayan (whom I don’t hesitate to name in such a context) more than any of them wakes in me a spring of gratitude, for he has offered me a second home. Without him I could never have known what it is like to be Indian.” –Graham Greene
“Narayan’s humour and compassion come from a deep universal well, with the result that he has transformed his imaginary township of Malgudi into a bubbling parish of the world.” –The Observer
“The first writer of his kind…A more accurate guide to modern India than the intellectually more ambitious writers of recent years.” –Pankaj Mishra, The New York Review of Books.