MADHURANTHAKAM RAJARAM KATHALU — Vol. 4: Visalaandhra Publishing House, 4-1-435, Bank Street , Hyderabad-500001. Rs. 150.

OVER 300 stories written by Madhuranthakam Rajaram (1930-99) are collected in five volumes. In this volume of 42 stories most of the characters are drawn from rural and semi-rural backgrounds.

Whether it is a school teacher of the remote village Rangapuram, mechanic Kamesam, postal clerk Anandarao, bus-driver Ganguli, headmistress Vimaladevi or orphan Chinnarao who is hopeless in studies but likes to earn his food with his own sweat, they are all sketched with striking detail. Their simple lives and the extraordinary way in which they respond to life’s trials and tricky situations, their ungrudging and unselfconscious kindness and support to others in distress are portrayed with unpretentious warmth. But it is mastery over the craftsmanship of story telling that earned Madhuranthakam an outstanding position in modern Telugu literature. As the writer himself tells us in the preface his fascination for story-telling has its roots in the epic tales, ballads and various other folk-presentations he listened to in his childhood.

His language has the earthiness of the region (Rayalaseema) and its people. These volumes offer good reading material for those who enjoy reading and for aspiring writers.