I’d always been a little wary of RK Narayan. While I, like many others, had thoroughly enjoyed the television series Malgudi days and I suppose, like many others, I too had based my estimation of RK Narayan on them. I don’t know now whether it was my naivete or the treatment of the stories or what, but I’d always assumed that Narayan wrote storied in a light Wodehousian vein, a style that is not my favourite right now. Thus, it was with some trepidation that I picked up the collection Memories of Malgudi.
Imagine my surprise then, when the first book, The Dark Room was this dark, menacing novela. Narayan muses on the futility of life and the helplessness of his protagonist Savitri, filling each scene with undertones of as many hues as there are facets to human nature. Hypocrisy, deception, kindness and despair are all present in their full glory, coloured and shaded by the characters, their morality and their situations.
This book is such a pleasure to read I’m almost ashamed of the review I wrote for it.