The English Teacher – Book Review.

 

Book: The English Teacher

Author: R. K. Narayan

Genre: Fiction

Format: Paperback

 

R.K. Narayan, famous for giving us the idyllic, fictional town of Malgudi in southern India, made his way into our hearts and our homes years ago with his simple and heart-warming story-telling.   How can we forget Swami and his friends and their stories that made for an important part of our growing up years? I remember staying glued to the tele when Swami came for a visit and took us along with him on his adventures in Malgudi; its signature tune  “ta na na na nana naaa…” comes to mind as I type this post!

The English Teacher is almost an autobiographical novel. It’s about Krishna, the English teacher, who teaches at the Albert Mission College, in Malgudi.  He lives at the hostel, while his wife and daughter live with his parents-in-law. Their move to a rented house permits the young couple to enjoy marital bliss.  But, like all good things come to an end, their story, too, takes an unexpected turn.

Krishna’s eagerness to live an uncomplicated life, and his search for inner peace and  self-development is what the story is all about.

 

My review: 

I bought this book months ago, but couldn’t read beyond a few pages then. The setting of the Albert Mission College, and Krishna’s mundane life as an English teacher staying at the  hostel failed to grab my attention. However, last week, I picked up the book again and began reading from the very beginning. It was then that I discovered its sheer  beauty hidden in the simple, everyday life of people far removed from the fast, tech-savvy world we reside in. Suffice it to say, it felt like petrichor after months of scorching summer!

The idyllic setting of Malgudi, the young couple learning to live with each other and bring up their little one, it all felt so peaceful. How I wished I could move there, bag and baggage.

The language – so fluid, unostentatious –  brings alive  the world of Krishna. His disagreement with the education system that forces the students to learn a language meant to be savoured, and literary works  meant to be celebrated, will resonate with many a teacher of today.

The ease with which R. K. Narayan weaves together sorrow and joy makes one wonder if it is really so easy – expressing the varied human emotions in words!

The atmosphere of the place grows on you, as do the characters you wish you could meet in real life.

R. K. Narayan transports you back to that time  when innocence and simplicity really existed. The book was written in around 1945, so you can imagine the life back then. No, actually, we really can not! Krishna, his wife and daughter, their lives, their world, their journey…you will wish you could walk along with them and live those moments with them.

How I wish I could give you a sneak peek into the plot, but I will leave you guessing.

Do read this book. I am sure it will make you yearn for an uncluttered life in an idyllic, small town by the river side! Oh, and without a wifi connection, as well!

 

18 Replies to “The English Teacher – Book Review.”

  1. Krishna appears as a likeable person. I would like to pick this book up for reading. I think there will be only a few people who might not like RK Narayan’s works.
    Last year I read The world of Nagaraj. It was simple and funny. The story goes on round and round, just like everyday life with no conclusive ending and still I found it interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was not aware of this book by RK Narayan, though I bought Malgudi Days to re-read it. RK Narayan’s stories paint the daily lives of people in the most visually colourful yet simple way and that’s simply a winning combination!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The simple life is what we miss in today’s fast paced world. The strolling instead of scrambling, easy going people with patient ears and warm hearts. The new age has made us more robotic than human and such stories take us back to our roots. Must add it to my TBR list. Loved the way you have described Krishna and his marital life without letting us in on the secret. A good review leaves us wanting for more and your review has whetted our appetites but left us ravenous for the entire dish. Superb writing, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wrote a book review after ages, Sulekha, and was frankly a tad nervous as I typed it. I wasn’t sure if I should reveal a few more details, or leave it as is. Your words are an assurance that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it had turned out.

      Thank you so much, dear! You sure know how to lift someone’s morales! I really need to do reviews more often.

      Like

  4. R.K. Narayan is one of my favourite authors. I was pleasantly touched when a friend once told me my writing reminds me of his! Not true, of course because the elegance in his writing is quite unmatched.

    But your review just reinforces my belief in that power he has in his storytelling.

    I think that’s a fact that many writers of the pre-internet era can relate to. The lack of distraction, the simplicity of just being, the contentment with what we have. Now we have everything and more and people are never satisfied, always complaining and always finding fault with the way others behave. It saddens me. Having an opinion and sharing it all the time is not really necessary.

    I sometimes think I don’t belong in this world. As much as I enjoy blogging, I infinitely enjoy reading and writing for its own sake and far removed from the instant connectivity that the world offers.

    Okay, I seem to have rambled a lot!

    Agree with Sulekha 🙂 I LOVED the review and immediately went looking for it on my Kindle but there’s no e-book version available. I’ll wait for it to come and add it to my reading list for this year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so agree with every word you say, Shailaja. I too wish we could just go back to that simple living, uncluttered lives and minds, and peaceful co-existing.

      Thank you for rambling, sweetie. Metanoia is a place where such ramblings by dear friends is most welcome! And, enjoyed!

      And, thank you for your comments about my review!
      ❤ I will be doing more reviews henceforth so I don't lose touch with this kind of writing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like a wonderful book! In this age of instant communication , we seem to have lost touch with the simplicity of life…with the little things that matter more than social media views. Reading the story of characters living in 1940s, now that would bring us a completely different perspective! Putting this on my alarmingly heigh TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

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