Category Archives: 2020 Book Reviews

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 40: The Guide by R.K. Narayan








R. K. Narayan’s The Guide came onto my radar a few years ago.  I bought the paperback at the time but I did not read and traded back in at the local used bookstore here in San Antonio.  Well, this novel has returned to my attention and I decided to read it.

The Guide is the story of Raju, an Indian tourist guide who is trying to make a living at best as possible.  However, he becomes mistaken for a holy man and gets involved with a romance that nearly brings him to ruin. This novel explores the depth a man will go to keep his appearance like he has everything under control.  But, he truly does not.

In reading this novel, I felt this deep sense of sadness of how Raju’s life changes throughout the book. Narayan’s prose is straight-forward, blunt, and doesn’t create any warmth for his protagonist.

I must admit I wanted to read more about the imagined city of Malgudi (where most of Narayan’s novels are set) but the focus of the novel was on Raju’s destructive behavior.

The Guide is well-regarded on the world literature stage and I can see why that kind of praise has been awarded to this book.  However, I liked this novel more than I loved it.  I would recommend other novels by Indian writers like Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, or The Illicit Happiness of Other People by Manu Joseph instead of this one.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 39: Black Fortunes by Shomari Wills

  Black History Month has passed, and I had a plan to read three non-fiction books about black history during the month of February.  I finished Maurice White’s wonderful biography, My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire quickly and then I read Before The Mayflower by Lerone Bennett, Jr.  Bennett’s groundbreaking book chewed up the… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 37: My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire by Maurice White

I was challenged recently by a blog reader to read and review more nonfiction books. I have read fiction books for most of my reading life. There were numerous reasons why I have gravitated towards novels instead nonfiction. However, I chose not to state those reasons in response and accepted their challenge. I have decided… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 36: Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Can you ever go home again? Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor attempts to answer that question. Binti returns home after a year away on a spaceship at Oozma University. She brings her friend, Okwu, for support. However, the homecoming does not go as expected and the family treats Binti like a pariah. She discovers a… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 35: Animals at the End of the World by Gloria Susana Esquivel

I have a soft spot for coming-of-age stories. I don’t have a good explanation for why those stories appeal to me as a reader. But, they do. When I found out about this first novel from Colombian author Gloria Susana Esquivel, I knew I had to read it. Animals at the End of the World… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 34: Black Women in Science by Kimberly Brown Pellum

Daddy, I’m ready to read another book with you at bedtime. I loved hearing that sentence from my 10-year-old daughter, Norah. We have read many books together over her young life. This time she wanted about women in science. I did a Google search a few weeks ago and came across Black Women in Science… Continue Reading