Swami and Friends

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"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

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Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. 1980 S Trade Paperback New Square, solid, and unread--what more could you ask for? When you receive this book, you'll feel as though you've received a ... rare gift from one of Scheherazade's fabled djinn! You MAY even cartwheel with glee! Read more Show Less

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0226568318 New Edition! Published in India! *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next! Ships From Springfield, VA USA!

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Swami and Friends

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Overview


"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

Offering rare insight into the complexities of Indian middle-class society, R. K. Narayan traces life in the fictional town of Malgudi. The Dark Room is a searching look at a difficult marriage and a woman who eventually rebels against the demands of being a good and obedient wife. In Mr. Sampath, a newspaper man tries to keep his paper afloat in the face of social and economic changes sweeping India. Narayan writes of youth and young adulthood in the semiautobiographical Swami and Friends and The Bachelor of Arts. Although the ordinary tensions of maturing are heightened by the particular circumstances of pre-partition India, Narayan provides a universal vision of childhood, early love and grief.

"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 a green twilight."—Margaret Parton, New York Herald Tribune

"The novels of R.K. Narayan are the best I have read in any language for a long time. . . . His work gives the conviction that it is possible to capture in English, a language not born of India, the distinctive characteristics of Indian family life."—Amit Roy, Daily Telegraph

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Editorial Reviews

Amit Amit
"The novels R.K. Narayan are the best I have read in any language for a long time....His work gives a conviction that it is possible to capture in English, a language not born of Indian, the distinctive characteristics of Indian family life." -- Daily Telegraph
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226568317
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1980
  • Series: Phoenix Fiction Series Series
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author


R. K. Narayan (1906–2001) was one of the most prominent Indian novelists of the twentieth century. Most of his stories are set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi, a place that Narayan populated with numerous characters. He was the recipient of many awards for his work including the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy, India's highest literary honor. In 1980 he was awarded the AC Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature, of which he was an honorary member and in 1982 he was elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    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.

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