R. K. Narayan entered the American scene with his Financial Expert, a businesslike title that concealed a book of outwardly simple but profound humor, rooted in Hinduism and Indian culture. The present novel is the tenth set in Malgudi and introduces yet another engaging hero, a man beset and beseiged by the younger generation and the transplanted (and transformed) ways of the West. (Narayan, with his perceptive expression in a folk mosaic, has been spoken of for the Nobel Prize.) Jagan is, as his son Mall disdainfully puts it, a vendor of sweets, and Mali will have none of it. Mali manages to get to America, where he is supposedly learning how to write, but he returns to his home with a girl, Grace, and a story-writing machine in which, he wishes his father to invest. Jagan balks employing the non-violent non-cooperation his master, Gandhi, had used so successfully before him, and after disrupting the sweetmeat business all over town with his lowered prices, retreats happily into a garden where he may meditate the rest of his days, leaving his house and business, to his still struggling son. Old and new, old and young, are juxtaposed in this gently derisive yet tender novel, provincial in situation, universal in application. For that special taste.