The Financial Expert
Author: R.K. Narayan
Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: Methuen Publishing (UK)
Publication Date: 1952
Genre: Fictional Novel
In The Financial Expert, R. K. Narayan once again transports readers to the southern Indian town of Malgudi. This story centers around the life and pursuits of Margayya, a man of many hopes but few resources, who spends his time under the banyan tree offering expert financial advice to those willing to pay for his knowledge. Margayya's rags-to-riches story brings forth the rich imagery of Indian life with the absorbing details and vivid storytelling.
It takes place in the town of Malgudi. The central character in this book is the financial expert Margayya, who offers advice to his fellow people from his town from under his position at the banyan tree. He is a man of many aspirations and this novel delves into some level of psychological analysis. The Financial Expert tells the story of the rise and fall of Margayya.
The character of Margayya is very pivotal as this character almost transpires all the themes through his many life experiences.
We can see Margayya’s inconsistent graph of Wealth and social status rising and falling haphazardly. Narayan emphasises on the concept of ‘humility’ in the section where he portrays Margayya to be more self-indulgent and tend to credit himself more for his successes. Not only in his businesses but also with his relationship with his wife, he always tend to put himself first.
Another key theme is the ‘Importance of family’, which is developed by the sufferings that Balu inflicts on his parents and later his wife. Balu, allowed to think of his own wants and desires, strays away from his family and falls under Pal’s influence.
The relevant existing in the contemporary world ie. ‘Patriarchy’ is also discussed at lengths in the book. Both Brinda and Meena are an acute evidence for this extremely important prevailing in the society and has been there for centuries. It also says how the women need to take actions and try to strive for their aims when they differ from their significant others.
Narayan believed heavily in the Gandhian thought and has represented the racial discrimination and economical exploitation successfully. The book portrays the dilemma that A.N. Kaul talks about,
“a considerably large section of Indian society striving to live its daily life in a definite historical situation”.
Narayan always write keeping in mind the Indian sensibilities and it reflects in his words and writing style.
- The Financial Expert was adapted to a Kannada -language film, Banker Margayya, in 1983.
About the Author:
R. K. Narayan was born in Madras, South India, and educated there and at Maharaja’s College in Mysore. His first novel Swami and Friends (1935) and its successor The Bachelor of Arts (1937) are both set in the enchanting fictional territory of Malgudi. Other ‘Malgudi’ novels are The Dark Room (1938), The English Teacher (1945), Mr. Sampath (1949), The Financial Expert (1952), The Man Eater of Malgudi (1961), The Vendor of Sweets (1967), The Painter of Signs (1977), A Tiger for Malgudi (1983), and Talkative Man (1986). His novel The Guide (1958) won him the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy, his country’s highest literary honour. He was awarded in 1980 the A.C. Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature and in 1981 he was made an Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. As well as five collections of short stories, A Horse and Two Goats, An Astrologer’s Day and Other Stories, Lawley Road, Under the Banyan Tree and Malgudi Days, he has published a travel book, The Emerald Route, three collections of essays, A Writer’s Nightmare, Next Sunday and Reluctant Guru, three books on the Indian epics, and a volume of memoirs, My Days.