Fiction&Friends decided that this month they wanted to read RK Narayan's A Painter of Signs and last night we meet up to dissect it at La Bodega over several penitential jugs of margueritas (because, if you remember, I was responsible for picking the last book which the others did not like at all and had promised to buy the drinks!).
It's the story of a signpainter called Raman who falls in love with an emanicipated and high-minded woman called Daisy who approaches her job as family-planner with missionary zeal. Daisy enlists Raman's help on her visits to the countryside to talk to rural communities about the benefits of smaller families. Raman is to paint the signs and murals which will carry the family-planning slogans. But during the journey he becomes infatuated with Daisy and determines to make her his wife.
I hadn't been back to Narayan's fictional town of Malgudi (the setting of all his gentle, charming tales of Indian life) for a very long time, and was glad of the excuse to revisit. For the most of the group this was the first time they'd made the trip to Malgudi and they all thoroughly enjoyed Narayan's gentle humour and apparent simplicity. Someone drew an interesting parallel with Alexander McCall-Smith's First Ladies Detective Agency series which work the same kind of magic.
La Bodega wan't the best of venues for a meet, although the management kindly gave us a 15% discount: it was a bit noisy, a little smoky and very chilly. We're back to a member's house for our next discussion.