An Illustrated Short Biography
Jyothi Malhotra
THE BOYS WHO CREATED MALGUDI: R.K. NARAYAN R.K. LAXMAN by Lavanya Karthik Duckbill Books/Penguin, 2021, 48 pp., 199.00
May 2022, volume 46, No 5

I have read many of RK Narayan’s stories and novels. To me his books epitomize the adage ‘Simple Living-High Thinking’. His words flow like soft rain, gentle and beautiful, bringing to life dormant thoughts and emotions in the reader’s mind. The quirky people of Malgudi—the loving ayah, shrewd matchmaker, naughty Swami and his friends are all like family for avid readers India of the 80s. One can ‘see’ one’s relatives and friends hidden in the various characters that dot his books and that’s what makes RK Narayan’s books unputdownable.

The common man of India with all his foibles and frustrations was RK Laxman—he needs no further introduction than that!

Lavanya Karthik sheds light on the making of these two stalwarts. Her book reminds the readers to pick up The English Teacher or Swami and Friends and read it again just to immerse oneself in the simplicity of the world that he created. She effortlessly highlights the love and affection between the two brothers and bases her book not only on the individual journey undertaken by each of the brothers, but also on how they influenced one another.

Lavanya Karthik is adept at writing stories for children that adults will be irresistibly drawn to. Her prose is almost poetry and her illustrations are undeniably masterpieces. This book captures the expressions of the two brothers so credibly that one feels sure that it forms the ‘fact’ part of the ‘faction’ genre which the author classifies it as.

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