Author: R.K. Narayan
Publishing Date: 1986
Cost: Rs. 135 (Paperback)
The main character is an ordinary man who is wealthy and works as a journalist. He has a regular routine in his life: posts articles in the post box, has a talk with people in a tea shop, goes to the library and the house. One day, he meets a man from an unknown land called ‘Timbuctoo’, another of Narayan's creations, the land being similar to the US. The man seems to have come for an official duty for UN and seeing the calmness of the place, decides to stay here for his work. There comes a twist of what exactly the man is up to and how the main character of the novel solves the problem.
The book presents a simple story. The story is set in the famous town of ‘Malgudi’. All the twist and turns of classical Malgudi days are kept intact in this novel. The author never reveals the real name of TM(the journalist). The readers will never be bothered by this. However, the character’s name is somehow disclosed as Madhu only once in the entire novel (during conversation with Gaffur- the taxi driver).
There may be a reason behind the non-usage of the name of the character. The author may have decided to treat his character to be bereft of any personal opinions or emotions. Narayan possibly could have wanted to portray this character as somewhat mysterious and transfer the same air of curiousness to his readers.
The title is quite apt and it follows the zest of the novel. TM has no family & is not married which again adds to his anonymity. He speaks a lot & carries tales of the residents to others. The enigmatical title is the beginning of deceit, fascination, conspiration and uncertain expectations of this peculiar novel. There is an equal amount of action in this novel as well as drama in a very humorous form which is very much R.K.Narayan style of writing- to keep a reader wanting to know what will come next.
Talkative Man or TM as he is called by his friends is the central character of the story. He narrates his story in first person. In this story he meets Dr. Rann who is working on a UN project of some sort and is writing a book simultaneously. Commandant Sarasa, is his wife, who is on hunt for her lost husband. These are the three main characters of the story. Another character, Printer Natraj (of The Man-eater of Malgudi) also comes in for a brief interval. There are some other Malgudi people also in the story.
This book is yet another fascinating piece on Malgudi, composed and a lot of native wit.
About the Author:
R. K. Narayan (10th October, 1906- 13th May, 2001) 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. His other notable ‘Malgudi’ novels includes: 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. He was awarded the A.C. Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature in 1980 and in 1981 he was made an Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Along with his five collections of short stories, he has published a travel book- The Emerald Route, three collections of essays, three books on the Indian epics, and a volume of memoirs ‘My Days’.