Book 117: The English Teacher by R. K. Narayan

PIMG_9613The English Teacher by R. K. Narayan

Finished reading on March 21st, 2014

Rating: 7/10

“The English Teacher” is the third novel in an autobiographical trilogy by the 20th century Indian writer R. K. Narayan.

As the previous books “Swami and Friends” and “The Bachelor of Arts” this book follows Krishnaswami’s life. Now he is working at a college as an English lecturer, is married to the beautiful Susila and has a daughter by the name of Leela.

As the story starts we find out more about Krishna’s work and his opinions about teaching literature.

But then the story continues with his in-laws wanting him to finally live together with his wife and child. First they rent a house and then they’re planning to buy a house, but unfortunately they never get that far, as Susila falls ill.

In order not to give any spoilers I can’t really say much more about what happens next.

This book is somewhat different from the other books by Narayan that I’ve read, as it delves into some-kind of mysticism, that is a little reminiscent of 19th century English writers like the Bronte sisters. The novel’s tone becomes dark and sad.

“Flames appear over the wall…. It leaves a curiously dull pain at heart. There are no more surprises and shocks in life, so that I watch the flame without agitation. For me the greatest reality is this and nothing else… Nothing else will worry or interest me in life hereafter.”

I enjoyed the first part of the trilogy more than the two later ones. However I liked how in the end of the book Narayan resigns from his work and says things that reminded me of J. D. Salinger as Krishnaswami want’s to start teaching children instead of being a part of the college in which, as he sees it, they don’t teach the students to think for themselves but rather produce simple civil servants.

 

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Book 61: A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

PIMG_4969A Suitable boy by Vikram Seth

Finished reading on July 29, 2013

Rating 10/10

This book is the longest one I’ve read this far in my life with 1474 pages .

It tells the story of several extended families who are all connected somehow by marriage or circumstance. The main story line (in my opinion, though there were several) follows Lata Mehra, whose older sister is just getting married in the beginning of the book, to a suitable boy whom Mrs Rupa Mehra has chosen for her daughter. Naturally now comes the time to find a suitable mate for Lata.

This book wouldn’t be half as long if it were easy and Lata would really want to get married to the first guy her mother thinks suitable (from the right caste and religion, not too dark, has a good job etc.). There’s some drama and romance involved.

Some political and religious intrigue throughout the book are going on in the sidelines, all very interesting indeed….

By the end of the book Lata makes her choice – in the beginning  she met Kabir Durrani, a Muslim boy she falls in love with, Lata’s sister’s sister-in-law tries to make a match between her brother Amit and Lata and Lata’s mother has found a suitable boy in Haresh Khanna – from the same caste and religion, well-to-do etc.

I’m not going to write whom she chose, but I’ve got to admit that she chose just the guy whom I didn’t like out of the three… 😦 Oh well… It’s an excellent book nonetheless.