Book Title: The Guide
Author: R. K. Narayan
Review by: Active Reader
First Published: 1958
Edition Read: Indian Thought, 2011
Rating: 4/5 stars
One-line-thought: A novel which takes the eloping romance into a philosophical abyss
Hello, friends and readers of Active Reader book review blog! We are here with our very first review. We are going to review the classic Indian novel, The Guide, by R. K. Narayan. Certainly one of the most respected English novelists in India, Narayan’s novel, The Guide, is more about the philosophical aspects of Karma, life and karmafala than the usual love, lust and life. Today, Rupesh Madhukar will review the book for us.
The Guide, more popular in academic circles today rather than being in popular culture among the readers of fiction, is a classic novel which is rather read by the classic readers (in their 30s or 40s) or only be the readers of the young age for the academic purposes. Other than that, this novel has nothing to boast today – or, the novel has many things to offer but the readers have turned their head towards other genres, trends and styles of writing. Either way, we have to focus on our subject – sarcasm aside.
The novel is about a person of notorious repute, Raju. Raju is a tourist guide in the evergreen town Malgudi. He earns his living; he entertains his clients (tourists) and also dupes them of their money at times to further warm his pocket. His life takes turn when he meets a fairly talented lady, trained in classical dancing, Rosie. In turn, Rosie’s life is suffocating with her husband – Marco – a self-satisfied man who just needs a body to satisfy his sexual desire and then have no regards or remorse! In the beginning, Raju loves Rosie, fights for her, appreciates her art and gets her the fame and name she deserves. Then, inspired by his lust for wealth, Raju remains nothing different from Marco in his conduct towards Rosie, who later becomes Nalini.
The novel will take the readers to different corridors of thoughts and emotions. Sometimes for Rosie and sometimes for Raju, their pendulum of sympathy will keep swinging – to and fro. Raju is a character which animates right from the beginning to the end of the novel and keeps the readers’ interest in the fiction alive. On the other hand, Marco is just a tool to make the readers believe that Raju and Rosie are justified in coming together and starting things from the scratch. Rosie, to me it seems, is more a passive character. She is there with Marco and in the passive form; she is there with Raju in the passive form. So, though R. K. Narayan seems to be fair to women in saying that marriage had become an institution at that time and Rosie did need a man’s name beside her to lead a respectable life, he has, it seems done injustice to the central woman character in the novel!
To suggest the readers, I will call on my young friends to read this novel and understand the fiction of the past and compare it to the fiction of the present and see who has got it right. That would be an interesting job, by the way!
You can get a copy of the book by following the link below:
review by Rupesh M for Active Reader
The Guide - reviewed
- Active Readers: Overall Rating
Active Readers find the book worthy of being read and critically appreciated! The novel will keep the readers emotionally and intellectually observed.