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Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Binding: Trade Paperback. / Publisher: University of Chicago Press / Pub. Date: 1980 Attributes: 20 cm, 184 pp / Stock#: 2040145 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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The English Teacher Paperback – October 15, 1980

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"Narayan wakes in me a spring of gratitude, for he has offered me a second home. Without him I could never have known what it is like to be Indian" Graham Greene "Narayan's humour and compassion come from a deep universal well, with the result that he has transformed his imaginary township of Malgudi into a bubbling parish of the world" Observer "In his humour and compassion, Narayan comes close to being a twentieth-century Indian Chekhov" Sunday Telegraph "RK Narayan's Malgudi novels are humorous gems and it is a great pity that they are not better known. He wrote beautifully and with great compassion, something regrettably lacking in some humorous writing" --Alexander McCall Smith --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

R. K. Narayan (1906–2001) was one of the most prominent Indian novelists of the twentieth century. Most of his stories are set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi, a place that Narayan populated with numerous characters. He was the recipient of many awards for his work including the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy, India's highest literary honor. In 1980 he was awarded the AC Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature, of which he was an honorary member and in 1982 he was elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (October 15, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226568350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226568355
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,728,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Critics have often compared with Russian writer Gogol , his imaginary town of Malgudi , peopled with characters potrayed with a gentle irony as they struggle to accommodate tradition with western attitudes inherited from the British . ' The English Teacher ' , one of his finest works , tells the story of a young man Krishna, just married with a new job . The domestic tenderness of an Indian arranged marriage makes an adventure out of ordinary. Readings of Palgrave's , the outings of the newly married, hagglings over household accounts are endearing images that stay with you forever . The marriage ends in a death, and the way Narayan encompasses this with sadness and loss, simply moves one to tears. What follows then are frustrating attempts to contact his wife through a medium. This book is really a semi-autobiographical account, as narayan himself suffered a bereavement in his married life and in ' My Days ' he decribes his attempts to use a medium. Although other books by Narayan are more popular , namely ,'Swami and his freinds ' and ' Guide ' , it is this book, which , i beleive to be his finest creations. Sadness and humour go hand in hand ,like twins, their shadows inseparable . Like Chekhov all his comedies have a under-tone of sadness. In all his novels , Narayan has never strayed from his Malgudi, making us hear stories under its Banyan tree , taking us for a stroll along Market road , look with awe at those villas in Lawley extension , the cinema , the railway station,the hair-cutting saloon . He has lived in Malgudi all his life , and we , his readers have stayed with him I am waiting to go out of my door into those loved and shabby streetsof malgudiand see with excitement and certainty of pleasure, who, with some unexpected and revealing phrase will open a door on to yet another human existence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sara on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Through his unobtrusive insights, Narayan paints a beautiful picture of a small fictional South Indian town - Malgudi (which is in reality, a mixture of images derived from his hometown in the Kumbakonam District of Tamilnadu and Mysore in Karnataka. Narayan's description of the life of South Indians- their simple houses, grandmothers, earnest young men, garrulous retired men, street dogs, cricket playing youngsters- all make for a compelling picture, funny and poignant simultaneously.
I cannot recollect the number of times I have read this book - The old Indian TV serial "Malgudi Days" immortalized Narayan's imagination on Indian television. Of course, Malgudi days dealt primarily with Narayan's celebrated "Swami and his friends", but the small town also serves as the backdrop for this semi-autobiographic novel of Narayan.
The English teacher- Krishnan leads a blissful life with his wife and daughter. Life takes a cruel turn when his wife dies of typhoid. The rest of the book deals with Krishnan's struggle, seances through which he communicates with his wife's soul and finally- the magnificent ending of the book, when the author finally realizes the true meaning of life and he experiences "a moment of pure immutable joy; a moment for which one feels grateful to life and death"
The book is based on Narayan's real life; In his own words, very little of the book is fiction...There are loving references to Susheela- her height (in reality, Narayan's wife was taller than him!), the description of her midnight-blue silk saree, the fragrance of jasmine that enveloped everything associated with her....One can only begin to sense the magnitude of Narayan's loss. Through this book, Narayan has accorded the Indian way of life and his love the greatest possible respect and honor.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "sirlancelotdulake" on February 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This one's my favourite Narayan - along with the Maneater of Malgudi, this occupies a very special place in my book-shelf. The English Teacher - a.k.a. Grateful to Life and Death - is a sad story, sadder than most of Narayan's Malgudi novels. But the tragedy is softened by the wry humour that runs through the novel.
'The feeling,' Narayan writes on the first page, 'again and again came upon me that as I was nearing thirty I should cease to live like a cow (perhaps, a cow, with justice, might feel hurt at the comparison), eating, working in a manner of speaking, walking, talking, etc, - all done to perfection, I was sure, but always leaving a sense of something missing.' You can see what I'm talking about.
The story, as Narayan narrates in his autobiography 'My Days', is intensely personal.
'The English Teacher is autobiographical in content, very little of it being fiction. The "English Teacher" of the novel ... is a fictional character in the fictional city of Malgudi, but he goes through the same experience I had gone through...'
'That book,' he writes, 'falls in two parts - one is domestic life and the other half is "spiritual."'
The second half comes as a bit of a surprise, but Narayan tackles the difficult subjects of death, deprivation and desolation masterfully. Narayan takes you through the story gently. There are no shocks, nothing disturbing. This is a sad tale, gently told.
The book ends on a note of hope - 'it was a moment of rare, immutable joy - a moment for which one feels grateful to Life and Death.' The reviewer who spoke of how Narayan manages to 'communicate ... the extra-ordinary ordinariness of human happiness', I think hit the nail right on the head.
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