R.K. Narayan (1906-2001), born and educated in India, was the author of fourteen novels, numerous short stories and essays, a memoir, and three retold myths. His work, championed by Graham Greene (who became a close friend), was often compared to that of Dickens, Chekhov, Faulkner and O'Connor, among others.
Set in Malgudi, a corrupt tourist guide, together with his lover, the dancer Rosie, leads a prosperous life before he is thrown into prison. After release he rests on the steps of an abandoned temple when a peasant passing by mistakes him for a holy man. Slowly, almost reluctantly, he begins to play the part, acting as a spiritual guide to the village community. Raju's holiness is put to the test when a drought strikes the village, and he is asked to fast for twelve days to summon the rains.
'The best of R.K. Narayan's enchanting novels'-New Yorker
'A brilliant accomplishment . . . Narayan is the compassionate man who can write of human life as comedy'-New York Times Book Review
'Narayan is such a natural writer, so true to his experience and emotions'-V.S. Naipaul