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The Guide: A Novel (Penguin Classics) Paperback – August 29, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

R. K. Narayan (1906–2001), born and educated in India, was the author of fourteen novels, numerous short stories and essays, a memoir, and three retold myths. His work, championed by Graham Greene, who became a close friend, was often compared to that of Dickens, Chekhov, Faulkner, and Flannery O'Connor, among others.

Michael Gorra is a professor of English at Smith College. His books include The Bells in Their Silence: Travels Through Germany and After Empire: Scott, Naipaul, Rushdie.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (August 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143039644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143039648
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Despite other reviewers' insistence that this is a "beach book," "a light read," you should read this book and carefully. Its deprecators need to try again; not everything is to be read and understood on a superficial level. Their comments say more about them than the book, and I wonder if they're not a little condescending. I was always disappointed that Narayan did not win the Nobel for literature; his is a wondrous gift of language and humanity. Your heart and mind will be enriched by reading it, and it will always stay with you.
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Format: Paperback
N.K. Narayan's The Guide, for which he won the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy, his country's highest literary honor, is a deep yet wryly humorous examination of the frailties of humans and the meaning and consequences of our actions. The main question seems to be, "Are we creators of our own destinies, or are we mere reactors to the people and circumstances which surround us? And, furthermore, does it really matter, in the end, why we do what we do? Or is the final result the only thing that matters?" What more important inquiry can there be? An entire philosopy course could be taught using this wonderful book as the basis.
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The way Narayan interlaces the two different streams of stories in the book is wonderful. The novel is a masterpiece in the way it is written and takes the reader to a visual tour of malgudi lansscape. The way Narayan has developd the city of malgudi is really exemplery. The transformation of Raju from a high society man to a saint is well laid out. The lives of Raju and Rosy has been well presented. The day to day activities around Raju, the saint's, during fasting is also well presented. The whole episode is dramatised to such an extent that we can visualise the whole thing in front of our eyes. The most importent thing about Narayan is the language that he uses through out the book. Its amazing the way he presents the whole novel in such a simple language. The climax is really heart rendering. Narayan holds the readers interest through out the book. A must read for anyone.
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I am in complete agreement with G. Young's review. In essence, the book is an account of the spiritual journey of a man who becomes a saint despite himself, written with humor, compassion and consummate skill. My favorite book by my favorite author.
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Format: Paperback
Caveat- if you have watched the Hindi film Guide by Dev Anand and think you already know enough about the book, you are wrong! The author hiself was almost disgusted with the film.

Book is sublime. Raju the guide is very ordinary person but his story shows us how extra-ordinary one's life can become. Indeed it is one. One has to just discover it.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a first-person account of a charmingly neurotic character, whose materialism, protectiveness, and dishonesty lead him to success as often as they get him into trouble. His fortunes rise and fall as a shopkeeper, a tour guide, a lover, and ultimately an unwilling saint. He even finds success and happiness in prison, where his charisma leads him to build many friendships amongst fellow prisoners and security staff alike.

This book successfully treads the narrow space between tragedy and comedy, bringing lightness to an otherwise heavy theme.
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Format: Paperback
R.K. Narayan's novel, The Guide, written in 1958, is recognised as one of the author's best. (It's selected within a collection of "1000 books to read during your lifetime" collection which some French publishers were selling over Christmas). It tells the story of Raju, whose father was lucky to own a shop near a spot where a railway station was going to be built. Raju was then a boy who enjoyed his life outside, and when the tracks and station were built, the shop in the station was entrusted to his father. The boy soon started helping him, pleased at not having to be sent to school any more. But the father died accidentally, and Raju who must have been 12 or so, took over, and over the years cleverly understood the interest of the railway, because not only did he see the importance of the shop for travellers, but also that of the travellers' needs. He became a tourist guide, and is so keen and scruple-free that his business flourishes.

Then comes the day when a special tourist arrives in Malgudi (Narayan's fictitious pet town situated in the South): he's a historian, a lover of old inscriptions and engravings. He wants Raju to take him to some caves in the mountains where archaeological treasures have to be surveyed. Along with him is Raju's destiny, in the form of his wife, Rosie. She's as different from him as Raju's quick practicality is from old stone inscriptions. The husband, called Marco by Raju (because of some connection with Marco Polo the discoverer) is a bespectaled intellectual who seems to drag his wife around like so much baggage. She's an educated young woman, but belonging to a caste of dancers which condemns her to accepting whatever her husband decides for her. Among which, no dance.
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Format: Paperback
Marvellously written book. Winner of the highest literary award in India, the Sahitya Kala Academy Award, this book makes fascinating reading. Among the few books that I managed to finish on an overnight train journey without being able to put down. I am sure it would be a book that would be reread by all those who have read it once. Charecterisations that Narayan weaves for Rosy and Raju are just brilliant. The high point of the book is I think the transformation of Raju, unaware to himself, into a sort of hermit from the guide at the railway station that he used to be.This has come off so beautifully in the book. Quite worth putting your money into. The book was also made into a highly successful movie by the same name staring Dev Anand. This movie,many may not be aware, was also made in English and had its screenplay written by oscar winning screen writer Pearl Buck.
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