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The BBC's David Chazan
"Narayan.. novels gave a voice to the common people and he was acclaimed as one of India's and the world's greatest writers"
 real 56k

Sunday, 13 May, 2001, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
Indian 'storyteller' dies
Southern Indian village
Narayan is famous for his portrayals of daily life in India
By Jill McGivering in Delhi

One of India's most eminent novelists, RK Narayan, has died at the age of 94.

Narayan wrote more than 15 novels in his writing career, including many based in the fictional southern Indian town of Malgudi.

R K Narayan
Narayan wrote more than 30 novels
His writing was famous for its vivid portrayal of daily life in India.

Many saw Malgudi as typically Indian - a focal point which helped to give a sense of national identity to the country in the years before India became independent.

His first novel, Swami and His Friends, which began the Malgudi saga, was published in 1935.

It won him instant critical acclaim and recognition on the international stage.

He went on to publish more novels as well as volumes of short stories and essays in a writing career which spanned decades.

His Malgudi Days, written in 1982, was made into a popular television serial, while The Guide won Narayan the country's highest literary award.

Humour and tenderness

Critics praised his style as being unpretentious and natural.

He wrote with ironic humour and tenderness about the struggles of ordinary people.

Others described him as a writer who represented the common man, who understood the realities of rural life and cared passionately about rural development and good governance in India.

Many Indians came to know his characters through a major television series here.

He was a close friend of the late British author, Graham Greene, who is said to have described him as one of the greatest contemporary writers in English.

Narayan described himself as just a story-teller.

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