NARAYAN was born on October 10th 1906 in Madras. This is a commemorative edition issued to mark the Birth Centenary of the author. Rare photographs of Narayan and brilliant sketches by his brother R.K.LAXMAN, the famous cartoonist,are notable features of this edition.
Narayan, the creator of MALGUDI, in his simple lucid style speaks of his life in MY DAYS. The book is in three sections- in the first,he describes his life as a lonely child growing up in his grandmother’s house in Madras with a monkey, a peacock and a parrot for companions! He goes on to describe his first school, the fear of the class teacher and the anxiety to remain unnoticed, being a player in the local football team “Jumping Stars”;his move to Mysore and admission to a school,where his father is the Headmaster. He narrates with amusing candour his comprehension skills for science and mathematics and his discomfiture at the special attention,the teachers gave the ‘headmaster’s son’. He discovers his passion for writing in the idle year he spent waiting to take his university examination after have failed in English- his favourite subject…
The second section deals with the obstacles he encountered as a young writer, how the manuscript of his first book Swami and Friends caught the attention of Graham Greene; their life long friendship; his falling in love and marriage to Rajam, the birth of their daughter and the poignant tale of his wife’s untimely death that left him devastated and his coming to terms with it, and his experiments with psychics.
In the last section, he gives a detailed account of his overcoming the writer’s block, and the writing of The English Teacher. He continues describing his literary journey and his evolution as a fine writer. He writes about how he worked on his novel and short stories. About his visit to the United states of America at the invitation of the Rockefeller Foundation,how he stayed on for a couple of months at Berkeley and wrote The Guide. Along the way he tells of his experiences with the filming of The Guide by the noted actor Dev Anand. In the last few chapters we see an established, contended writer known worldwide for his characteristic simple,lucid style and gentle irony…
R.K. Narayan was born in Madras,South India in 1906 where he did his schooling and graduated from Maharaja’s College in Mysore. His novels are built around characters living in the fictitious town, MALGUDI. His works include sixteen novels beginning with SWAMI & FRIENDS in 1935 and ending with THE GRANDMOTHER”S TALE published in 1992 spanning six decades of most brilliant writing! THE GUIDE won him The Sahatiya Academy award. He has written more than two hundred short stories and essays. His interpretation of the epics Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Indian Purana’s in the collection GODS,DEMONS & OTHERS have won great acclaim. His autobiography MY DAYS and his travelogues MY DATELESS DIARY and the EMERALD ROUTE add to the priceless collection of writing! He won the A.C BENSON MEDAL by the Royal Society of Literature in 1980 and was made Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1982. He was honored with the Padma Bhushan in 1964 and Padma Vibhushan in 2000 for his distinguished writing. Narayan died in May 2001 at the age of 94 leaving behind a legacy.
GRAHAM GREENE ON NARAYAN
“Since the death of Evelyn Waugh, Narayan is the novelist I most admire in the English language”
“….Narayan 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 an Indian”.