Picks and Pans Review: Talkative Man

updated 03/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

by R.K. Narayan

The noted Indian writer has created a narrator who is a man after his own heart—a born, compulsive storyteller. The Talkative Man (called T.M. for short) has inherited a big house and enough income so that he doesn't have to work seriously for a living. So he has set himself up in Narayan's little town of Malgudi as a journalist. He writes his articles and then sends them off on the train to the big newspapers in the cities. Sometimes a few lines are printed, and T.M. sees his career take a great leap forward. One day a well-dressed Dr. Rann appears at the train station and refuses to leave. Somehow T.M. winds up with a guest in his house, Dr. Rann, who says he is writing an important book on "futurology." T.M. writes a feature story about Dr. Rann, and the editor wants a photograph. T.M. sneaks one and the published picture brings a large, formidable woman to Malgudi in search of her husband. She's so vocal it looks to T.M. as if he'll "have to surrender my title of Talkative Man and take a second place in the world of talkers." At first T.M. takes it upon himself to save the mysterious Dr. Rann from this talkative woman, but then the doctor makes a move toward an innocent Malgudi maiden, and T.M. is inspired to switch sides. Narayan, who is the author of The Man-Eater of Malgudi, A Tiger for Malgudi and two dozen other books, is as bold, confident and funny a writer as the fictional T.M. himself. The Malgudi that Narayan has created is a vivid, mythical place, wholly convincing a reader that this is indeed the way life is lived in the real India. (Viking, $15.95)

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