Books: The Reluctant Swami

THE GUIDE (220 pp.)—R. K. Narayan —Viking ($3.50).

This is a tale about a reluctant swami. The setting is Malgudi, a sleepy little Indian town dedicated to daydreaming nonviolence. One of Malgudi's daydreamers is Raju, an ex-jailbird (minor forgery) who camps on a stone slab near a temple and counts the stars. When a troubled villager says, "I have a problem, sir" and Raju hears him out, the stargazer's career as a swami has begun. Soon he gets credit for every good thing that happens in Malgudi. He repays his followers in doubtful oracular...

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