Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Grateful to Life and Death


This was the title of a R.K. Narayan book which I found in the school library. I was surprised initially to hear of this unknown book from RKN and eagerly checked it out. I read the first four lines and it didn't take me long to figure out that "The English Teacher" in India was called as Grateful to Life and Death here in the United States, published by the Michigan Press.
The storyline is quite simple - Krishnan, a Lecturer in Malgudi, is happily married to Susila and life is chugging along on expected lines when tragedy strikes in the form of typhoid which leaves Krishnan a widower with a Leela, their 2 year daughter. The rest of the book is about how Krishnan copes with life after "death".
As is always the case, there isn't much of a story track. The winner is Narayan's subtle humor, tinted with emotion. I've always been amazed by Narayan's ability to reflect real life in his writings and every dialog and every action seems so natural that you only wish that you were a part of the proceedings.
Apart from the lead character, the child Leela, steals the book, especially in the last part, with her own way of responding to situations, quite opposite to that of Krishnan's expectations. The book is a take off on Narayan's own life and so you are able to relate to the psychic experiences in the later part of the book.
If at all I find something lacking, I found that the ending was a bit hurried and Narayan could have elaborated a bit more on Krishnan's change in his outlook an life - but then Narayan being what he is, expects you to understand subtleties!
If you are a Narayan fan and haven't read this one yet, grab a book!!

1 comment:

NIRMAL said...

Oflate i have been into reading books
hmmm
i must try this one also
But as of know i am reading books on self help/pschology

If i get hands on this will read them