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Malgudi Days by R. K. Narayan in Braille

R. K. NARAYAN (October 10, 1906 – May 13, 2001) won Indian readers’ heart in spite of his selection of English as his medium. The author did not avert his eyes from his Indian surroundings. Rather his novels and short stories teem with a multitude of characters whom we meet everyday in any Indian town. We are happy to present to our readers Malgudi Days in four Braille volumes.

Malgudi, an imaginary region developed by R. K. Narayan, is the backdrop of all thirty-two short stories collected in this book. Here you will find all sorts of characters – doctor, engineer, sculptor, singer, astrologer, knife-grinder, thief and beggar and many more. Even Narayan does not leave out cat, dog and tiger from Malgudi Days. The geographical location of Malgudi is a topic of scholarly debate. What we can deduce from these short stories is that it is a small town, not very far from Madras or modern Chennai. It has almost everything a city needs – a university, a hospital, cinema hall, restaurants, market place, and a number of streets and roads with posh houses and ramshackle dwellings. In fact, a map was constructed by Dr James M. Fennelly of Adelphi University to illustrate his paper “The City of Malgudi”. Here are a few words from the accompanying Introduction by Jhumpa Lahiri:

Malgudi is on that wonderful map of places in the literary universe, either real or imaginary, that not only provide a setting but possess a soul. Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, García Márquez’s Macondo, and Joyce’s Dublin are just three examples of the way certain writers cling stubbornly to a single terrain, entering its countless doors and portraying the residents within. Narayan does so with the assiduousness of a census taker but with an artist’s compassion and intimacy. Malgudi is the setting not only for the stories in this volume, but for practically everything else Narayan has written. It is a small, self-contained, bustling town that is neither fully cosmopolitan nor agrarian in sprit. … Narayan does not just give the town an invented name; he names its streets, its buildings, its temples, and its restaurants, injecting local colour at every turn.

R. K. Narayan wrote several novels using Malgudi as his canvass. Swami and Friends (1935), The Bachelor of Arts (1937), The English Teacher (1945), The Financial Expert (1952), and The Guide (1958) easily come to mind when we think of R. K. Narayan’s novels. The last of these, The Guide, won him the Sahitya Academy Award. He also published travelogues, essays, the memoir My Days, and the retold legends Gods, Demons, and Others, The Ramayana, and The Mahabharata.

Apart from the excellent introductory essay by Jhumpa Lahiri, this Braille edition has the author’s preface. Stories in this selection are adopted from three other anthologies – An Astrologer’s Day, Lawley Road and New Stories.

This four-volume Braille edition will cost Rs. 424. Students may collect it for only Rs. 40. Visit our Braille catalogue page for other details.

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