This grouping of stories, most of which were published previously, confirms Indian novelist and short-story writer Narayan (Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories, 1985, etc.) as a writer who views narrative as an infinitely superior form of intelligence to mere reason. Says the Talkative Man, the narrator of a story called ""Judge,"" to his dubious audience: ""You demand an explanation! Do you? You won't get it. I will only quote my friend Falstaff in Shakespeare's play. He was asked to explain how or why of certain episodes. His reply was a No sir. 'If reasons were as plentiful as blackberries, I would give no man a reason upon compulsion'!"" Narayan, a Talkative Man himself, writes out of a love of the sound of human voices trying to make sense of the world.