BOOK REVIEW: The Guide BY R.K. Narayan
I don’t remember how old I was when I saw the movie adaptation of R.K. Narayan’s ‘The Guide.’
But I do remember the whole story. Actually, I remember the plot of almost every old movie I have ever seen when I were a kid. It’s the newer ones that I struggle to remember for more than a few months. 😀
Back then as I wasn’t interested in books, so didn’t pay much attention to the fact that the movie’s based on a book.
Even if I had known, I wouldn’t have bothered to think much about it. Anyway, I loved the movie, still do, but the end I didn’t like. I have an aversion to unhappy endings. 😉
Since I already know the story, I didn’t want to read the book but same old curiosity caught up with me. And I read it because it’s required in reading in a Degree I was pursuing.
Let’s see how ‘The Guide’ is in the book form….
Main Characters: Raju; Rosie.
‘The Guide By R.K. Narayan’ ~~ Synopsis:
Raju, is a popular tourist guide in his village due to his easy charm and also because he’s a skillful liar. To keep tourists’ interest in sightseeing, Raju weaves some or other fascinating stories about the place. Whether the information he’s giving out is accurate or not, it doesn’t matter to him.
While going around his day to day life Raju comes in contact with Rosie and her husband Marco.
Marco is an archeologist and spends most of his time either working or fighting with Rosie. Due to turmoil in her domestic life, Rosie begins to spend time with Raju and soon they fall for each other.
Rosie’s passionate about dancing and desire to pursue dancing. But Marco neither approves nor encourages her talent. Raju encourages Rosie to follow her dream. Marco soon finds out about his wife’s affair with the tour guide and in anger leaves her.
Rosie moves in with Raju in his mother’s house. Raju’s mother disapproves of their arrangement, but never says anything. Raju’s mother takes the help of her brother to voice her disapproval.
Soon after the clash, Raju and Rosie leave the village so Rosie can follow her dream of becoming a dancer.
Because of her hard work and Raju’s support & careful planning, Rosie realizes her dream. However, trouble soon enters their paradise and Raju lands in prison after forging Rosie’s signature.
In one instant he loses everything. After coming out of the prison Raju has nowhere to go so he takes shelter in a temple nearby a village.
A villager Velan mistake Raju for a saint. Raju doesn’t correct the villager. Velan’s misplaced devotion ensures Raju leads a comfortable life.
In a few days time, other villagers begin to visit the temple too, to seek blessings from Raju, the saint. Raju doesn’t bother correcting them either. Instead plays his new role of the saint with aplomb.
Unfortunately, drought strikes the village. The villagers believe Raju’s a saint with great powers; they request him to bring rain. Raju tries to tell them he can’t do miracles.
But villagers’ faith in Raju is unshakable. Raju makes a false prophecy that some saint would keep a fast till death to appease the rain Gods and falls prey to his own words.
Raju’s not planning to die, so he tells Velan all about his past and his real identity, in hopes to get out of his predicament.
After hearing Raju’s confession, Velan begins to believe in Raju even more. After all, it’s a mark of a great man to confess to his past mistakes/sins.
In the end, Raju decides to go along with the charade. Due to his commitment to fast till it rains, Raju becomes famous, attracting devotees even from outside of the small village. Everyone waiting to see him perform a miracle. Will his fast appease the rain gods?
I still don’t know whether to like or dislike Raju’s character. He’s one of the intriguing characters I have come across till date in fiction.
Some parts of the story are also quite comical, but in a twisted manner. You just don’t know if you should laugh or think about it. The language, it’s simple, smooth and enticing.
Lessons From ‘The Guide — R K Narayan’:
I don’t what lesson the author wanted people to learn, but here’s what I found. 😉
People (like Velan & villagers), believe what they want to believe. Such people’s main concern is to find someone (some “holy man”), who’d solve their problems. They don’t want to find solutions to problems they create most of the time.
Too much work and lazy people would rather follow someone than use their own head. This reminds me of one my favorite quotes:
“Most People would rather die than think, in fact, most do.” — Bertrand Russell
Worth the time I invested in reading the book. ‘The Guide by R.K. Narayan’ is without doubt among the titles that deserve to be in your book collection if you have a passion for the classics.
Hit Or Miss: Hit
Ratings: 4.5 stars/5.
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