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R.K. NarayanThe Novelist and His Art$
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Ranga Rao

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199470754

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199470754.001.0001

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Grateful to Love and Death

Grateful to Love and Death

The Guide

Chapter:
(p.144) 12 Grateful to Love and Death
Source:
R.K. Narayan
Author(s):

Ranga Rao

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199470754.003.0012

This chapter looks at the first novel in English to win India’s Sahitya Akademi Award, The Guide. This is a novel with brisk pace, a story told with much verve. It is also a fine psychological study of a fraud; as a con artist Raju's portrait is a singular success. This novel marks the middle of Narayan’s post-Independence period; what developed in Mr. Sampath as a subplot is centre stage here. Narayan’s art triumphs in The Guide in retaining the reader’s sympathy for his susceptible hero. The direct narrative part, in Raju’s own voice, completely humanizes this typical rajasic character. Narayan’s post-independence charlatans in The Financial Expert and The Guide also share their creator’s own childhood loneliness: relieved by the devotion of a mother figure. Raju’s tongue-in-cheek humour also is vintage Narayan.

Keywords:   triumph of narrative technique, adultery, rajasic character, childhood, mother figure, humour, religious humanism, sexuality

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