Railway Raju is a famous guide who is solely responsible for putting the sleepy town of Malgudi on the tourism map. He falls in love with his client's wife and on learning that she is unhappy with her marriage tries desperately to woo her and succeeds only after fate takes his side. In this process he alienates his family and friends and loses interest in his profession.
Undeterred by the setbacks he nurtures his partner's passion for dance and his efforts finally pays off after she becomes a famous dancer. This time fate abandons him and he ends up in prison.
After being released from jail, he is mistaken for a holy man and a village adopts him and pins their hope on him to bring rainfall through penance. Will he walk from this sticky situation through his corrupt and wily means that he resorted to as a guide or will the circumstances get better of him?
While all the trademark elements of an R.K Narayan book are present, we see him portray the dark nature of humans for the first time brilliantly. Read this book even if you've watched the movie by the same name. The movie diverges quite a lot from the book and yet the book is more entertaining.