Book Review: Talkative Man by R.K. Narayan

Talkative Man by R.K. Narayan is a bit different novella from his regular novels which are mainly about the conflict of human nature. The characters and events leading to the final climax are rather hilarious in this book. The main character of the book is a man who speaks a lot hence people have named him TM – Talkative Man. He lives in Kabeer Street in Malgudi, being an aspiring journalist it’s one of his dearest desires to see his reports being published in the newspapers. He is a regular visitor to the Town Hall Library; he goes there not to read but to see whether any of his stories has been published, but most of the time he is disappointed.

One day at the library, he encounters a fair complexion man – the man was not from Malgudi. It was evident from his attire and skin complexion. He says himself Dr. Rann from Timbuctoo, on a UN mission. Like TM, that man also is talkative and says that he has come to Malgudi to complete his book peacefully – which will be a sensation once out in the market. TM discovers that Rann is staying in the waiting room of the station, which is a matter of trouble for the station master as more than a day’s lodging isn’t permitted by the railways. After some days, TM takes him to his house at Kabeer Street. When TM publishes his story about Dr. Rann with a photo in a newspaper, a lady comes down to Malgudi from Delhi claiming to be Dr. Rann’s wife. She discloses that Rann is not on any mission for UN, rather a Casanova type of person who loves to play with the feelings of women. 

Later the town gossip and little investigation from TM reveal his true colours and he finds that Rann is planning to elope with a student, Girija. She is the granddaughter of the old librarian, who takes up Dr. Rann as a scholar and thinks that he is guiding her to find a good career. When Dr. Rann’s plan was about to materialize, TM writes to his wife who then comes to Malgudi and by the events of subtle abduction takes him away. The drama unfolding his abduction was superbly designed.

After some days, TM receives a letter from his wife only to know that Rann has run away with a nurse. It was Rann’s way of dressing and fair skin that deceives women to fall in his trap.

The narration of the book is banal and the story doesn’t offer anything new in terms of intensity. It is a light read, recommended for new readers.