Waiting for the Mahatma

Waiting for the Mahatma

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by R. K. Narayan
     
 

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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. In Waiting for the Mahatma, a young drifter meets the most beautiful girl he has ever seen–an adherent of Mahatma Gandhi–and commits himself to Gandhi’s

Overview

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. In Waiting for the Mahatma, a young drifter meets the most beautiful girl he has ever seen–an adherent of Mahatma Gandhi–and commits himself to Gandhi’s Quit India campaign, a decision that will test the integrity of his ideals against the strength of his passions. This novel, written after India's independence, is a masterpiece of social comedy, rich in local color and abounding in affectionate humor and generosity of spirit.

Editorial Reviews

Francis King
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.
—Francis King, Spectator
Anthony West
R.K. Narayan…has been compared to Gogol in England, where he has acquired a well—deserved reputation. The comparison is apt for Narayan, an Indian, 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.
—Anthony West, The New Yorker
Margaret Parton
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 Book Review
Amit Roy
The novels of R.K. Narayan are the best I have read in any language for a long time.
—Amit Roy, Daily Telegraph

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345803856
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/25/2012
Series:
Vintage International
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,057,561
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

Graham Greene
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 arms 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.
J.A.B. van Buitenen
R.K. Narayan has for several decades been the best Indian writer in English. From year to year I have had a hope that he will be awarded a Nobel Prize. That may still happen.

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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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book R.K. Narayan has used the freedom struggle as a backdrop against which we observe the life of the main protagonists, Sriram and Bharati. Sriram's character is very well etched out with common human failings and emotions. While taking a look into Sriram's life and love for Bharati (who is a freedom fighter and Satyagrahi following in the Mahatma's footsteps) we get a glimpse of the conflicting ideologies of Subhash Chandra Bose and Gandhiji. To his credit R.K. Narayan never appears to be opinionating on any of them. Excellent reading for someone interested in exploring post-colonial Indian writing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
R K Narayan holds the reader spellbound with another tale set in his favorite Malgudi. The story revolves around Sriram, a grandma's boy who is pulled into the Indian freedom struggle, not through any notions of patriotism or idealism, but simply because he falls in love with Bharati, a girl who works with Mahatma Gandhi. He doggedly pursues his dream mate, unwittingly playing a strong role in the independence movement. Although the story is about Sriram and Bharati, the personality of the Mahatma is characterized so beautifully that he too becomes one of the central characters. Gently rebuking India's laid-back attitude of ignorance, selfishness and subservience, R K Narayan weaves a magical world in this book, which I simply could not put down.