Yes, the same book on which Dev Anand‘s movie ‘The Guide‘ made. I am happy that I haven’t seen the movie for not missing such a wonderful writing by RK Narayan.This yet another book introduced to me as part of Goodreads Group read and yet another wonderful book.
Those who have seen the movie would definitely know the story, for others, the story is about the life of a guide in Malgudi, Railway Raju rather we can say confessions of Raju.
Though I haven’t seen the movie, I did see some scenes from it. So when the book started the image of Dev Anand was in mind when I try to picture Raju. But eventually Dev Anand faded and a typical dhoti clad Tamil guy replaced him. I guess that is the power of Narayan’s writing. He made us picture what he wants to even if we have some predetermined images about it.
Narayan keeps all the leading characters with the shades of grey, except for the innocent village folks and Gaffur. Raju, Rosie, Marco all have some characteristic to regret with. Narayan did not end the story in traditional way like either in happy or in despair instead he ends in a way to let the reader decide whether it is happy ending or not.
This is the first book I have read of Narayan, I liked his style of writing. The particularly the swami episodes with the light humor throughout and some philosophical thoughts through Raju.
Sometimes the characterization of Rosie is confusing. If I discuss it it would be a spoiler for those who are yet to read the book or watch the movie. So I just make a point that the character was somewhat debatable. Also I felt the fasting and resulting fame of the Swami was a bit too exaggerating. At the time where only newspapers available and many people wouldn’t even know how to read, the gathering of the crowd as described by Narayan was a little too much.
Overall this is a wonderful book which travels through Indian life very smoothly. The characters should have been a bit bold at the time of writing. If you want a book without much complications, easy to read and yet with a wonderful story, this is the one you would definitely want to read.
My rating for this Indian classic is ★★★★☆