Events in [R. K. Narayan]'s novels are recounted in chronological order, mostly in short, declarative, unadorned sentences. His plots, which sometimes contain bittersweet surprises, focus on everyday people. Compared to the deliberate glee some South Asian writers today take in capturing the idioms of English spoken with a regional Indian twang and in creating characters who have magical powers, Narayan's approach began to be seen as old-fashioned in the last two decades.
"With his curiously English inspirations, Narayan seemed to belong to a superannuated colonial world, especially at a time when we were being assured that a confident new post-colonial era in Indian writing had commenced," the author Pankaj Mishra observed in a celebration of Narayan on the online journal Tehelka.com this week.
In his own, quiet way, Narayan could make cutting-edge observations about the twists and turns of Indian society. Narayan didn't change his style to conform to fashions in fiction.