In the novels of R. K. Narayan (1906-2001), the forefather of modern Indian fiction, human-scale hopes and epiphanies express the promise of a nation as it awakens to its place in the world. Mr. Sampath–The Printer of Malgudi is the story of a businessman who adapts to the collapse of his weekly newspaper by shifting to screenplays, only to have the glamour of it all go to his head. Written after India’s independence, this novel is a masterpiece of social comedy, rich in local color and abounding in affectionate humor and generosity of spirit.
“The novelist I most admire in the English language.” –Graham Greene
“Few writers since Dickens can match the effect of colorful teeming that Narayan’s fictional city of Malgudi conveys.” –John Updike
“The hardest of all things for a novelist to communicate is the extraordinary ordinariness of most human happiness…Jane Austen, Soseki, Chekhov: a few bring it off. Narayan is one of them.” –The Spectator
“The experience of reading one of his novels is…comparable to one’s first reaction to the great Russian novels: the fresh realization of the common humanity of all peoples, underlain by a simultaneous sense of strangeness–like one’s own reflection seen in green twilight.” –New York Herald Tribune Book Review
“Narayan is a writer of Gogol’s stature, with the same gift for creating a provincial atmosphere in a time of change…One is convincingly involved in this alien world without ever being aware of the technical devices Narayan so brilliantly employs.” –The New Yorker
Mr. Sampath--The Printer of Malgudi by R. K. Narayan