Dec 15, 2008

listening to talkative man

The unpredictable Bangalore traffic on a Friday night enabled us to reach the bus stop an hour earlier. Thanks to the talkative man, I was able to escape the boredoms amidst squeaking honks and crowded waiting rooms. No, I didn't meet a friend or a stranger but one of RK Narayan's novels "Talkative Man". What better way to break the reader's block than to pick up a RKN novel and enjoy the familiar territories of Malgudi! This is the first RKN novel I managed to read in 2008.

The protogonist TM narrates his experiences with a visitor named Rann in his home town Malgudi. Characters like TM (his actual name not once mentioned!) are very common in small towns, with their stories and gossips doing the rounds in streets and lanes. Thanks to ancestral property and wealth, TM leads a comfortable life and focuses his time and energy as a journalist writing about incidents that happen at Malgudi and sends them across to leading newspapers, with a hope of getting the words in print. With Rann's entry, TM's normal routine gets affected by Rann's intimidating personality and his background activities. These two characters form the main crux of the storyline. Sometimes, you feel sorry for TM and even angry at him for his passive stance against Rann, allowing him to stay in his home and not questioning his activities. The new visitors of Malgudi have made TM quite a listener!

"Talkative Man" is an interesting and quick read (~ 120 pages) except that it lacks the wit and humour that's so prevalent in RK Narayan's other novels. Even the emotions seem to be missing for a change. It's definitely not one of the best RKN's novels.

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