An Indian novelist, the first great Indian novelist to write in English. Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Narayan was born in Madras on 10 October 1906 and died yesterday, 13 May 2001, at the age of ninety-five. (The name is stressed na-RI-an.) He was championed by his lifelong friend Graham Greene.

Most of his novels were set in Malgudi, a fictional city loosely based on his native Madras (now Chennai) and Mysore. The first appeared in 1935. They continued throughout his life, in an increasingly complex saga of the lives of the people of Malgudi.

He loved his wife very dearly but she died of tuberculosis after only six years of marriage. He turned to spiritualism on her account, and recorded some of this in his work. In his seventies he was appointed a member of the upper house of the Indian parliament.

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