27 January, 2021

A Mature Malgudi

A quite first novel which holds out a beacon for the genre

A Mature Malgudi
THE first point to be made about The Last Post is that it's a book from R.K. Narayan country. But this is a Narayan who's informed and informative about matters which constitute the political and social world of small-town South India. Narendar Pani writes convincingly and humorously of the relationship between the media, vested business interests (here, the liquor trade), and politicians in small town India; and with the lightest of touches delineates how interests become vested and exploitative of differences among people.

The protagonist of The Last Post, Rangarajan, is the editor of the one and only English newspaper in Narasimhapura, a fictive small town in Karnataka. Starting off as a lowly waiter in a coffee shop, the worldly-wise man rises to the position of office boy and then editor of the newspaper, a position he is loath to lose. The newspaper itself had come into being because the local arrack trader, Bhimanna, had to get into the good books of an unapproachable government official whose only weakness was reading English newspapers. Since the official...



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