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

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Dark Room by R. K. Narayan (1938, 128 pages)

The Dark Room
by R. K. Narayan ( 1906 to 2004 Delhi) is an amazing look at a marriage in late Raj India.  The family is in comfortable surroundings with servants and three children.  The husband is the manager of a life insurance sales office.  He is a petty tyrant at home verbally abusive to his wife and sometimes children.  It is a time and place in which wifely subservience was a cultural given.  The father is not a monster, just selfish and unfeeling.  A crisis arises when an attractive female saleswoman comes to work for the husband.

This may not be among Narayan's most read books and I would not suggest one start in his work here but it is very much worth reading and might be one of the best accounts of Indian family life as seen in tremendous empathy to women ever written.   

I have a few Narayan novels still to read and I will be sad once I have read them all.

Mel u


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Mel, I didn't know about this book by R.K. Narayan. I agree, it's not his best-known work though it did portray married life as it existed in the period he wrote. Little has changed in some communities and societies. On the other hand, "The Guide" is a good book and was made into a fairly good Hindi film.

Mel u said...

Prashant. I agree with those who say The Guide is his best book and I have enjoyed all of his work so far