Author: Ranga Rao
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8126019719
R K Narayan’s career as an Indian writer in English spanned the best part of the last century. For decades he was the only Indian writer after Rabindranath Tagore known all over the English-speaking world. Narayan’s output is weighty: over thirty books. His range is rare: novels, novellas, stories, epics retold, travel books, columns, causeries, skits, radio talks, and a memoir; he was his own publisher, even edited a journal for a couple of years. He had sold in hundred thousands even as early as the 1960s.
His short stories and novels have been serialized on Doordarshan and achieved popular success. Graham Greene praised Narayan for a humour strange to our fiction; A N Kaul compared Narayan’s prose to Shakespeare’s blank verse: Narayan’s medium conveys not only the general Indian sensibility but a whole range of character, personality, and temperament with it.
Narayan was the first writer in English to receive the Sahitya Akademi Award, 1960. In 1996, the Akademi conferred on him its highest literary honour, Fellowship; and nominated him for the Nobel Prize.
For a writer of provincial, non-metro origins Narayan was forced to combat, in the early decades, a closed skeptical world. His bitter struggle was the equivalent of digging through concrete roadblocks with his bare hands: this Indian success is a miracle of the creative spirit. The achievement of Narayan is as much national as personal, as much moral as literary.
In this monograph, Ranga Rao presents for the general reader the fascinating story of R K Narayan, of his life and work.
Just a Word
Background to Malgudi
The Short Stories