Book Reviews,  FICTION,  India/Pakistan/Afghanistan

Talkative Man by R.K. Narayan *** (of 4)

In the small fictional Indian town of Malgudi an independent, very amateur journalist pauses over coffee to tell a story.  His subject is the mysterious, fashionably attired, Mr. Rann who arrives one day at the train station.  But doesn’t leave.  His story unfolds rather matter-of-factly and preposterously as we, the readers, stumble behind the reporter through the streets.  Together we soak up local culture, meet village elders and children, larger-than-life city women, and bureaucratic station masters as Mr. Rann’s mystery is patiently revealed.  It’s a short novel:  116-pages.  As the author says in his postscript, “I could have stretched the story, but that was I thought that this story needed.”  There is more depth here, however, than many books thrice as long.