The Guide

AUTHOR: R.K.Narayan
Genre:  Indian Fiction
ISBN-13:  9788185986074
PUBLISHER: Indian Thought Publication
PRICE: Rs. 70 (on Flipkart)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  R.K.Narayan is amongst the pioneers of Post Colonial Indian English writers along with the likes of Mulk Raj Anand,Raja Rao and Jayanta Mahapatra. His other works include My Writerly Life, Malgudi Days, My Life, Swami and Friends ... The Guide is Narayan's best and won him the National Prize of The Indian Literary Academy, India's highest Literary award.

BOOK COVER SAYS: Railway Raju is a disarmingly corrupt tourist guide, who  lives by his wits and falls in love with a beautiful dancer. More by chance than skill, he seduces her away from her husband, a lonely writer who is obsessed with local rock-carvings, and transforms her into a celebrity courted by wealthy and influential dignitaries wherever she performs. Raju makes and loses a fortune, finds himself in jail, and - through a series of hilarious, ironic circumstances- becomes one of India's great holy men.
The history of his success and unexpected fame has all the excitement of a suspense story,told with Narayan's customary tolerance and delightful humour. At the same time it raises many profound and disturbing questions.
The Guide floats as gently as a lily pad on the surface of Indian life and yet suggests the depths beneath. it manages to describe a saint who is neither born nor made but simply happens, almost like the weather.

SWARNALI SPEAKS: Narayan had always been amongst my very favourite Indian writers. His subtle humour that never fails to make you laugh, is what delights me every time I read him. 
The Guide is his most important work for many reasons. For one,Narayan through this book tries to portray the true India. India was always considered to be the mythical land of sadhus and snake charmers, where everybody is a yogi. Narayan tries to unveil the truth and show the real India where people act to instincts and basic needs,as much as those in the west.

The very interesting narrative technique Narayan employs to tell the story, shuffles between the past and the present. The readers hardly realise when the narration changes from the third person to the first person. This wonderful blending of the two narrative voices is one of the best things about the book.

The end is another very interesting feature of the book. Narayan very conveniently leaves the book at an open end and the reader's mind is left guessing for the most probable end. This is done very cleverly as Narayan avoids giving any conclusive answer to the question about the existence of saint like figures in modern India where people are driven by material needs. 

Through Raju, we see, how a very selfish person who never saw beyond his own pleasure turns into a spiritual guide when he sacrifices his basic needs and for the first time in his life does something for others. Rosie is the image of the developing modern woman, who is educated and independent. She is torn between the modern and the ancient values when despite her higher education she believes that she has failed in her duties as a loyal wife to her husband. Marco is the self-absorbed husband who is oblivious of his wife and is very slow in realising the developing closeness between Raju and Rosie.

A very strong plot, well developed characters and a superb blend of the Indian mythology with the present India, this book makes a must read.

My Rating- 5 /5


  1. U know Swarnali I was thinking of reviewing this book too and leave a comment on how u introduced me to it and I read it in 1 day!!:P But urs is loads better, keep up!!

  2. haha tahnks...I took 3 days to read the book,not that am a slow reader but i wanted to know everything that went behind the writing of this book,its one of my favorites. Dev Anand's Bollywood version was saw it?? He got it all wrong,no wonder Narayan was furious after watching it.

  3. Yeah I have seen the movie ages ago. And yeah it was quite different from the book (actually loads, even in character profile)!! But well it became a legendary movie, so I can't complain much!! :P

  4. this is one of my fav books from school- n guess what? we had to read it durin d summer break n review it for assessment! :D i'm so glad u did a review on this; n yeah, d movie was very disappointing...i skipped through most of it. :P

  5. @Arpi_am glad you agree with me on the movie :)
    @Aish_thanks :D

  6. great review...haha...swarnali's reviews are getting better day by day :P

  7. I really like the movie .. I realize it is much different from the book .. Should read this one soon ..

  8. @Nimue_ The book will sure surprise you. I saw the movie after i read the book and I was really really disappointed. I hated how the whole idea was turned into a commercial cinema and the entire essence of the book was lost.

  9. One of the best book ever read...a very sweet ans simple kind of story with a great moral..just loved it..


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