Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Dashi the Bride Groom" and Three Other Stories by R. K. Narayan

"Dashi the Bride Groom" (1947, 8 pages)
"Snake-Song" (1947, 6 pages)
"45 Rupees" (1947, 6 pages
"The Old Man of the Temple"  (1947, 5 pages)

Four More Stories From
The Astrologer's Day and Other Stories
by R. K. Narayan

I hope others will have the pleasure of reading for the first time the work of R. K. Narayan (1906 to 2001-India).   He is for sure among the great short story writers of the 20th century.   (There is background information on Narayan in my prior posts, for those interested.)

Today I will just post  briefly on two of the four stories I read since my last post on Narayan.

"45 Rupees", like some of Narayan's other stories, is about people trapped by their economic circumstances into doing what they know is not really right for them or their families.    The wrongness is not horrible or criminal but a question of lives made much less than they might have been by a bit of money.   In this story our lead character works in an office in the accounting department.    His boss works 15 hours a day seven days a week and he expects at least 12 hours a day from his employees.    The relationship between the man and his wife is really well done.   I  admit I cringed when his wife yelled at him and told him he was neglecting his daughter for his job.    All his little daughter wants is some tine with her father.   He is all set to quit his job when his boss refuses to let him leave early for a special occasion he promised to share with daughter.  The ending is totally perfect and a little heart breaking.   Anyone who has ever felt they were a slave to their job will relate to this story.

"Dashi the Bride Groom"  is a really great story.   It has great opening exposition, there is a very interesting development and some powerful drama and a lesson can be learned from the story.   Dashi is a big bull of a man, strong and powerfully built.   He has the mind of a child .    No one is real sure of his age, maybe 30.   He stays in the house of a man that maybe is his older brother or might just be someone who took him in off the streets many years ago.   He sleeps on the kitchen floor and does things like bringing in water and wood.   As he makes his way around Malgudi (the imaginary town where this and the other stories of Narayan take place) the village boys and retired lay abouts taunt him asking him when his bride will come.    Dashi very much wishes he could have a bride and his own family.   The boys tease him with descriptions of  the great beauty of his imaginary wife.  One day a famous actress comes to stay in town for a while as she has relatives there.    The boys tell Dashi about her and tell him she has come to town to marry him.    He believes them.     Things get very exciting now and I will not spoil the terrific ending.

All of the stories in The Astrologer's Day and Other Stories can  be read HERE
Mel u

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