Middle-period novels
The Guide to The Painter of Signs
in R.K. Narayan
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Despite his involvement with Graham Greene and his tailoring aspects of his fiction to suit British tastes, R. K. Narayan did not travel outside India until the second half of his life. Then, after receiving a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship that took him to the United States in 1956, he paid a number of visits to American universities, among them the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Texas at Austin. Notable among these was a period as Visiting Professor at the University of Missouri in Kansas City in the spring of 1969, a visit that he wrote about without identifying his hosts in one of his best-known essays, the title piece of his collection, Reluctant Guru (1974). This chapter focuses on Narayan's middle-period novels, including The Guide (1958), The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961), The Vendor of Sweets (1967) and The Painter of Signs (1976).

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