Nataraj, owner of a small, friendly printing press in the enchanted city of Malgudi, has never been very successful at making enemies. Until, that is, he meets Vasu. Almost accidentally, Vasu, a pugnacious taxidermist, moves into Nataraj's attic, bringing an alarming stuffed jungle of hyenas, pythons, and tigers, and an assortment of dancing girls who clump up and down the printer's stairs. Vasu is definitely not a man to tangle with. But when, in search of bigger game, he threatens the beloved temple elephant, Nataraj rises to the occasion--and R. K. Narayan invests his story with all his warm, wicked, and delightful sense of comedy.
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R.K. Narayan was born in Madras, South India, in 1906, and educated there and at Maharaja's College in Mysore. His first novel, Swami and Friends and its successor, The Bachelor of Arts, are both set in the enchanting fictional territory of Malgudi and are only two out of the twelve novels he based there. In 1958 Narayan's work The Guide won him the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy, his country's highest literary honor. In addition to his novels, Narayan has authored five collections of short stories, including A Horse and Two Goats, Malguidi Days, and Under the Banyan Tree, two travel books, two volumes of essays, a volume of memoirs, and the re-told legends Gods, Demons and Others, The Ramayana, and the Mahabharata. In 1980 he was awarded the A.C. Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature and in 1982 he was made an Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Narayan died in 2001.Review:
"Conoisseurs have known for years that the city of Malgudi, hybrid of Mysore and the molten universe, is the place to go for some of the best, wisest, and slyest scenes from the human comedy." --The Observer (London)
"Narayan's comedy . . . is a classical art, profounf in feeling and delicate in control." --The New York Times Book Review
"Narayan is a first-rate storyteller, and this is one of his most successful efforts . . . it cracks the whole of like wide open." --The New Yorker
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