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Posted November 7, 2005
The Universality of Boyhood
Swami and Friends is one of the rare books that one wishes took longer to read. The setting is foreign and fascinating, both culturally and historically, but the characters are recognizable to a former young boy from a small town in the western United States. The nobly-motivated mischief, the innate awareness of the social structure, and the sense of urgency surrounding boyish activities are universal. Narayan's writing reads effortlessly, providing the key details to allow one to understand why the story proceeds as it does.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 25, 2000
Tale of an ordinary Indian boy told simply, powerfully
R.K. Narayan is quite simply one of the most graceful writers I have ever read. As an Indian, I found that the scenes he described and the characters he chose - like all his characters, simple, ordinary human beings - rang true and reminded me of home. I hadn't read him since my teen-age years back in India. I read this book a few weeks ago (I now live in the U.S.) after reading a long list of European, Latin American and North American authors. And I found Narayan's book more meaningful than most, and a gentler work with a subtle plot set in 1930s India in the fictional town of Malgudi that Narayan has created as his literary mileu. But it is by no means a parochial work. Anyone will find parallels in the tale of Swami and his friends - Mani, Rajam, etc. The writing is lucid, and like the best of writers, Narayan never steals attention from the story with unnecessarily complicated words. A great tale told simply. This is an ideal work to read through quickly and then to return to savor the flavor of Narayan's India and the grace of his outlook and writing. And yes, the book is very funny, too.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.