Friday, 10 August 2018

The Guide by R. K. Narayan

R. K. Narayan's journey as an Indian English novelist has been full of a certain life, a lively experience which goes on... forever. Since the very beginning of his career, readers must have understood what kind of an author he was destined to become. Narayan's novels, most of them, incline towards Indianness, Indian and India... be it the dilemma of horoscope or the impression of first love or even the desire to leave everything and surrender oneself to God. The Guide, let me tell the readers, is a novel which is complete and also raises several questions. Is life a purgatory? Is Maya real? Is the world an illusion and we have to leave it a day for some upper world? 
The novel begins with a very happy and chirpy guy Railway Raju who is a guide to the tourists who come to visit Malgudi. He is renowned but shrewd and the people in town know his nature. He earns more than enough to manage his household and keep his mother happy. Then come Rosie and Marco and things change forever... Marco is not a very idle husband and Rosie is not happy with him. She suffocates but she needs a name because being a daughter of a 'temple-dancer' won't help her much... Raju gives Rosie the freedom and the aspiration that she always expected from Marco and worlds are realigned... ups and downs and downs and ups and ups and downs... Raju shapes the career of Nalini (Rosie gets a new name) but becomes more a manager of a talent than becoming an idle partner. Nalini also smells the change and the story leaves us at the same place where we begin - a life where no one is happy. Circumstances take turn; Raju goes to prison; Nalini becomes alone. Raju comes out in a completely changed world... now you will need to read! 

The novel has a very beautiful and animated conclusion to offer. I remember to have read many novels but very few of them could make to such a magnitude. The Guide - who is the guide? Fate? Raju? Nalini? Marco? Karma? Dharma? Soul? You have a puzzle waiting! 

This novel, for the beginners in fiction reading, will be surely an amazing experience for the readers. You should not ignore it. Go through this piece of meaningful and interesting literature as soon as you can and you will understand, for sure, what we have been missing in the modern novels these days. 

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Further reading: 

review by Sujit for Book Reviews Web

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