GRATEFUL TO LIFE AND DEATH by R. K. Narayan

GRATEFUL TO LIFE AND DEATH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Michigan State published The Financial Expert (reviewed last Spring-P. 228) and introduced to the American public one of India's eminent novelists. Now, with his second book, they hope to reach a wider public. While we cannot go along with the estimates of the stature of Narayan as a writer, we feel that we see sides of India through his eyes, and come to feel a sense of the human side of life in his writing. This novel is at times almost whimsical, at others tortured portrait of an English teacher in an Indian university. He sees too clearly for his own peace of mind, the absurdities of the reverence for the inconsequential, but seems unable to come to grips with his personal responsibility towards his students. Perhaps this is of a piece with his immaturity of outlook towards his wife and child. Not until her death forces him to face reality does he realize where his desires lie -- and as one closes the book he crosses the line between life and death in an esoteric experience of oneness with someone who has passed over that line, and acceptance of his role as poet and worker with children. An odd book, that has its moments, but that is unlikely to reach a very receptive market.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1953
Publisher: Michigan State College