When I first heard about the novel by R. K. Narayan, The Guide, I was not matured enough to understand what does a literary fiction mean. I just knew the simple and age-old fact that a novel is a novel is a novel and only a novel. It took me the same way. However, today, when I look back at The Guide and try to do an analogy of my reading of The Guide then and now, I find very different stories being narrated. Then, it was all about fun-reading of Raju and Rosie's romantic excursion which challenged the society then. Now, it is about the concept of feminism, the idea of individual freedom and ultimately about the discovery of the truer self which is not obliged to the momentary aspects of life. Do you also feel this?
Written in everyday English, The Guide has changed the way we used to perceive novels in those good old days. It brought the novel closer to human life and we began to enjoy the writing for the sake of writing - other than extolling the writers for their courtesy upon humankind.
R. K. Narayan brought fiction from the town to a developing and rather a humane place called Malgudi and The Guide sees a little advanced but still much humanistic Malgudi. His characters are emotional and very familiar to the readers. Raju seems a youth whom we encounter every day and so seems the beloved woman Rosie though the society then did not see her very respectfully. Every day, we can encounter one or two Marcos on our way to office or college or even park for jogging.
Also Read: The Guide - book review
Now, when I sat to re-read the novel by R. K. Narayan, I, out of curiosity, tried to juxtapose this fiction with the modern day ones - like of Chetan's or De's or even Amish's. They also claim to write for feministic causes but, not including Amish, the writings are more focused on woman body than the issues of women. In case of The Guide, Rosie's plight as a wife and then as a living-partner was at the centre. Sometimes R. K. Narayan did transgress from the central idea and became more inclined towards Raju's philosophical discoveries.
To conclude my short article, The Guide still remains very fresh and new whenever you read it. On the other hand, the newer novels just get old when we read it once and we don't have that wanderlust for reading them again. The classics, you can revisit any time you feel like doing it!
by Kavish for TBB