Thursday, May 2, 2013

The English Teacher

The English Teacher, by R. K. Narayan

Time to catch up on my book pile!  I have actually read plenty lately, but the blogging energy has been low.  So here we go.

The English Teacher turns out to be the third in a trilogy, but it didn't matter as much as you would think.  It's an "informal" trilogy, I gather.  The whole thing follows Krishna throughout his life from boyhood to adulthood, and this third book is about his life as a teacher of English literature at the same school that he attended as a boy.  He is even living in the same room, even though he is married and has a child; his wife and baby live with her parents.  It's high time that he get a house and bring his family to live with him, but he's nervous about that.

Happily it all works out and living with his wife, Susila, and their baby Leela is wonderful.  Krishna is happier than he had thought he could be.  I loved this part of the story; it's just a portrait of two happy young people, and it's a beautiful one.

But as we know all too well, happy marriages do not a novel make.  Susila becomes ill and dies.  How Krishna survives her death and deals with his grief and with caring for his daughter is the second half of the story.  Honestly it gets a little odd.   But it's a lovely novel, well worth reading if you want a modern Indian classic.










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