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The Man-Eater of Malgudi

The Man-Eater of Malgudi is a 1961 Indian novel, written by R. K. Narayan.[1]


The Man-Eater of Malgudi

Plot
This story revolves around the life of an Indian printer named Nataraj. Nataraj
lives in a huge ancestral house in Malgudi, a fictional town in south India. This
place is near Mempi hills which is very calm, pleasant and beautiful. He leads a
contented lifestyle, with his own circle of friends, such as a poet, a journalist
named Sen, and his one employee, Sastri. Like his other novel, Talkative Man,
R.K. Narayan introduces a character who enters the life of Nataraj and the town
of Malgudi. The character, Vasu, is a taxidermist who comes to Malgudi in
search of the wildlife in Mempi hills near Malgudi. His introduction begins with
his arrival at Nataraj's printing press, where he demands the printing of 500
visiting cards. This arrival begins the relationship between Vasu and Nataraj.
While Nataraj wasn't sure whether Vasu is a friend or an enemy, he dislikes the
company of Vasu because of his brazen actions.

Vasu is a bully, and is once compared to a Rakshasa (a demon) by Nataraj and


Sastri. Vasu takes up residence in the attic of Nataraj's press by chance and
convinces Nataraj that he would stay there as a guest (self declared) only for a
First US edition
few days until he gets put up some place else. Little known to Nataraj, Vasu sees Author R.K. Narayan
the place very suitable for his activities as a taxidermist plans otherwise. Vasu is Country India
a 'pehelwan' (muscleman), proud of his strength. As the story continues, Vasu
Language English
encroaches on Nataraj's life, every now and then bullies away his friends, his
Publisher Viking Press (US)
customers, shoots someone's pet dog and many other animals and birds near the
dwelling place, poaches wildlife from Mempi hills, creates stench in the Publication 1961
date
neighborhood through his activities as a taxidermist. When Nataraj questions
this, Vasu files a complaint with the Rent Control authority on Nataraj as a self Media type Print (Hardback &
declared tenant, entertaining women in the attic, disturbs the peace of Malgudi, Paperback)
whom the narrator refers to as "the man eater of Malgudi" Pages 250

As in Talkative Man, the end comes with the commemoration of a function. This time, it is for the release of a poetry book on
Krishna by his poet friend. Rangi informs Nataraj that Vasu wants to kill Kumar, the elephant, which Nataraj had brought down
from Mempi Hills to treat an ailment as a favour to one of his friends. Muthu, the tea shop owner helps Nataraj, when Nataraj
happens to meet him under unexpected circumstances, owing to Vasu's adventures. Now Nataraj comes to know of the plans of
Vasu to shoot Kumar, the temple elephant, for his collection and business. The protagonists frantically try to stop him, but in vain.
As Nataraj decides to talk to Vasu for once and for all, he finds Vasu sleeping, but the next morning he discovers that Vasu is
dead.

The autopsy takes place with the verdict being that he was not poisoned and that he was attacked on the head by a blunt weapon.
The case is closed, but the reputation of Nataraj's press is ruined and his friends and other people start avoiding him. Later,
Nataraj learns through his friend Sastri (who learns from Rangi) that Vasu was not murdered, but died in an attempt to smash a
mosquito sitting on his head. He had damaged one of his nerves with his powerful hand and died instantly.
Now Nataraj had got rid of Vasu, and the story ends on the note that all demons-rakshashas, devils and monsters bring the
downfall to themselves. The narration is very humorous and lively all along.

The story with its pleasant twists features the metamorphosis of a quiet, spineless man (Nataraj) to rise up against his "friend"
Vasu and the self destruction of the evil.

Characters
Nataraj - a printing press owner.
Poet - friend of Nataraj
Sen - A journalist, friend of Nataraj.
Sastri - employee and friend of Nataraj.
Vasu - a taxidermist, the antagonist of the novel.
Muthu - a tea shop owner.
Kumar - an elephant which was brought from Mempi Hills by Nataraj, for medical treatment.
Rangi - a temple dancer and a prostitute.
Joshi - doctor who treats Kumar (the elephant).

References
1. Sathupati Prasanna Sree (2005). Indian Women Writing in English: New Perspectives (https://books.google.com/
books?id=KsHbc_kuC1UC&pg=PA195). Sarup & Sons. pp. 195–. ISBN 978-81-7625-578-3.

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This page was last edited on 12 June 2019, at 18:56 (UTC).

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