There could be no two writers more dissimilar. [William] Faulkner was gaudy and rhetorical and depended on an emotional current to carry himself and his readers through the rapids and whirlpools of his prose. Narayan is like a man painting watercolors of tropical fish in a quiet pool. His style is realistic, unobtrusive and exact: Not a scale on one of his fish escapes scrutiny. And yet, both Faulkner and Narayan are great because they understood that reality is quicksilver. Both understood that the artist is he who tirelessly walks around and around the subject, trying to capture it from first this angle, then that, then another. The job is never done.
Superficially simple, Talkative Man moves quickly. You can read it in one sitting. A stranger, Dr. Rann, arrives in Malgudi and takes up residence in the railway station. In no time he has insinuated himself with the narrator, Talkative Man, who never understands how exactly he comes to be held responsible - by the irate train station master and by Rann himself - for Rann's welfare, to the point of finding him a home. Home, in fact, for Rann turns out to be a room in Talkative Man's house. The last part is simple: All the other houses and apartments that the narrator helped Rann find proved unsatisfactory.