Grandmother's Tale and Selected Stories
For the new generation of readers about to discover India's R.K. Narayan, there could be no better introduction to his delightful writing than The Grandmother's Tale, a collection of new and selected stories celebrating a body of work that spans five decades. Standing supreme amidst this rich assortment of stories is the new title novella, brimming with Narayan's characteristic blend of masterful tragicomedy and revelatory domestic detail. As told by the narrator's grandmother, it recounts the adventures of her mother, married at ten and abandoned soon after, who spends the next twenty years tracking her runaway husband across the subcontinent to extract him from the hands of his new wife and life. Her immense courage and implacable will are the stuff of legend - but once her mission is completed, her independence vanishes. Other characters that leap from these pages include a storyteller whose magical source of tales dries up; a naive and love-stricken husband who, his astrologers say, must sleep with a prostitute in order to save his dying wife; a pampered child who discovers that his beloved uncle may be an imposter or even a murderer. Gentle irony, wryly drawn characters, and themes at once Indian and universal mark these humane stories, which firmly establish Narayan as a peer of V.S. Pritchett, Richard Yates, and William Trevor.