And so once again, I return to Malgudi, only this time, it is a very different story than the naughty adventures of Swami and his friends.
The Guide tells us the story of Raju, a skilful liar who uses his guile to become a tourist guide in the little town of Malgudi, and Rosie, a lady who happens to meet him when she visits the town with her husband.
How this relationship changes their lives, not just once but twice, forms the rest of the story. You might feel that I’m handing out spoilers by the dozen here, but let me assure you that the book is more than just about the plot.
First published in India in 1958, ‘The Guide’ is also a social commentary, a feeling that I get might be a continuing strain in Narayan’s books.
Also, right throughout, one keeps on reminiscing the songs from the hit Bollywood adaptation of the book, starring Dev Anand and Waheeda Rahman.
If you were to ask me about the broad themes of this book, I would say ‘hubris’ and ‘irony’. The fact that R. K. Narayan manages to express these subtly and with the use of simple words is a hat-tip to his skill with words.
Title: The Guide
Author: R. K. Narayan
First Published: 1958
Number of Pages: 247
Price: (Paperback) INR 100 (Amazon.in)
My rating: 4 out of 5
(Disclosure: If you buy the book by clicking on any of the Amazon links above, you will NOT get charged extra. However, I will get a small commission, 100% of which will go to charity.)