The Grandmother's Tale and Other Stories

Overview

There is no better introduction to R.K. Narayan than this remarkable collection of stories celebrating work that spans five decades. Characters include a storyteller whose magical source of tales dries up, a love-stricken husband who is told by astrologers he must sleep with a prostitute to save his dying wife, a pampered child who discovers that his beloved uncle may be an impostor or even a murderer. Standing supreme amid this rich assortment of stories is the title novella. Told by the narrator's grandmother, ...

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Grandmother's Tale And Selected Stories

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Overview

There is no better introduction to R.K. Narayan than this remarkable collection of stories celebrating work that spans five decades. Characters include a storyteller whose magical source of tales dries up, a love-stricken husband who is told by astrologers he must sleep with a prostitute to save his dying wife, a pampered child who discovers that his beloved uncle may be an impostor or even a murderer. Standing supreme amid this rich assortment of stories is the title novella. Told by the narrator's grandmother, the tale recounts the adventures of her mother, married at seven and then abandoned, who crosses the subcontinent to extract her husband from the hands of his new wife. Her courage is immense and her will implacable -- but once her mission is completed, her independence vanishes. Gentle irony, wryly drawn characters, and themes at once Indian and universal mark these humane stories, which firmly establish Narayan as one of the world's preeminant storytellers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in India, these 19 stories, some previously published, emphasize perceptively drawn characters and situations rather than their colorful foreign backdrops. All the tales display a wry, gentle humor. A reporter becomes aware of his own indecisiveness when he's appointed as a judge to help clear out a court's backload of cases; a childless couple collaborate, with comic results, on writing and publishing a novel. In ``A Horse and Two Goats,'' the misunderstandings that arise between people speaking different languages work to the advantage of both a poor native man and an American tourist. In ``Cat Within,'' a miserly landlord enlists the help of an exorcist to get rid of a ``spirited'' jar, unaware that the ``devilish creature'' is a very live feline stuck inside. Narayan ( The World of Nagaraj ) is a master at unraveling the personal histories of his characters: in ``Uncle,'' a boy overhears a story about his uncle's past while waiting in a shop. The title story alone disappoints slightly, because its shift in focus from a young wife to her husband leaves us wanting to know more about the wife's fate. Still, overall, the story delights, as does the rest of this exemplary collection from one of India's most distinguished men of letters. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Reading these 19 stories is almost like holding India and its people in your hands. One can understand and almost feel the small and large pleasures, the slow-motion existence, the ever-elusive dreams. Transformed by Narayan's creative legerdemain, some stories are similar to fairy tales. Thus, in "A Horse and Two Goats," a rich New York tourist, speaking only English, and Muni, a 70-year-old peasant speaking only Tamil, discuss the business transaction, each one thinking he understands the other. Yet the two are amazingly satisfied when they complete their bargaining. In the convoluted novella, "The Grandmother's Tale," Narayan deftly narrates a tale, related to him by his grandmother, as she had heard it from Narayan's great-grandmother. All the other stories are just as enjoyable, including "Salt and Sawdust" and "Second Opinion," both surprising in their plot and character development. The entire collection is a reader's delight. Recommended for most collections.-Glenn O. Carey, Eastern Kentucky Univ., Richmond
From Barnes & Noble
From India's widely-acclaimed storyteller comes this rich assortment of short tales--20 in all--that meld the fantasy and tradition of India with universal themes and common human predicaments.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880016247
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

R. K. Narayan, an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, is known worldwide for his "Malgudi" novels, short stories, essays, and travel books. His short story collection, The Grandmother's Tale and Selected Stories, is available from Ecco.

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