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, December 23, 2011

"Lawley Road" by R. K. Narayan

"Lawley Road" by R. K. Narayan (1956, 12 pages)

My Prior Posts on R. K. Narayan

Watch 39 Episodes of the Classic Malgudi Days TV shows from the 1980s

To me R. K. Narayan is not just a very good writer, he is a very likable one as well.   Anyone who has read his novels and stories will understand what I mean.   The people in his stories are real and have real life problems.   In her introduction to the collection of Narayan's short stories, Malgudi Days, Jhumpa Lahari says that Narayan  jumps right into his stories and assumes you are interested in what is going to happen.   Most of his stories are set in the imaginary community of Malgudi in south India.  Malgudi, unlike  Winesburg Ohio or Yoknapatawpha County,  has mostly normal mentally healthy residents.

1906 to 2001
In "Lawley Road", taken from the collection Lawley Road and other Stories, Narayan lets us see how the city fathers of Malgudi reacted to the independence of India from British rule in 1947.    Narayan in a brilliant note say the city fathers of Malgudi sort of had kept quiet until they were sure the British were gone then they begun to try to win votes by deciding it was time to rename the streets of Malgudi.   Most of the roads had been named after things or people relating to England.   The streets were all renamed, many of them after members of the Congressional party of India.   As consequence of this people who used to be able to easily tell people that they lived on the corner of Alfred Street and Manchester Blvd now did not even know how to tell people where they lived.  Many streets had duplicate names, the mail did not get through, etc.  But using the old names would mark you out as a lackey of the British.

There was a statue in the center of town of one Sir Frederick Lawley.   It has been there so long no one even recalls who he is or who put the very large statue up.   They just assume he was the worst kind of British Raj governor.   The Statue is ordered taken down.   After it is removed, it was discovered he was a strong advocate of India Independence, a true scholar of India culture who spoke several languages and a total humanitarian and really just a wonderful person.    To compound it all he lost his life trying to save the victims of a flood when Indian leaders ran for high ground.   Now things get crazy when all of this is reported in the local papers.   Politicians whoever they are do not want to admit they made a mistake.   Narayan does his normal brilliant job of letting us see what happens next.

From now until the end of the year I think I will mostly post on short stories.

If you want to sample the work of Narayan, you will find links to his stories in my prior posts.

Please share your experiences with Narayan with us.   Do you have a favorite Narayan story (or have you not yet read him)?

Mel u


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

SWAMI AND FRIENDS and A TIGER FOR MALGUDI have always been my favourite R.K. Narayan stories. I also enjoyed watching the well-made MALGUDI DAYS on Indian television in the 1980s.

Mel u said...

Prashant C. Trikannad- My favorite novel (of the six I have so far read) is The Man Eater of Malgudi-I now have a copy of The Guide and will read it soon-Have you yet read The Sign Painter? thanks as always for your comments and visits.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Would you be referring to THE PAINTER OF SIGNS? I'm afraid I haven't read it. Thanks for mentioning THE MAN-EATER OF MALGUDI. It's all coming back to me now, as they say.

Mel u said...

Prashant C. Trikannad-yes I meant The Painter of Signs-I like Man-eater as so many crazy things happen in it and the people are so well created-

Mel u said...

Prashant C. Trikannad -thanks to your mentioning of the TV series I have now posted links where all of the 39 episodes of the TV from the 1980s can be viewed-some are in English but mostly in Tamil (I think?)-in any case once you read the story the episodes are easy to follow and really well done

@parridhlantern said...


Mel u said...

Parrish Lantern-still using the blogger software for this post.

Sylvia said...

I love his short stories and especially the narrative technique he uses in them. I in fact wrote a paper on RKN short stories and how they could be read as folktales.