The Guide by R. K. Narayan is the story about Railway Raju, a tourist guide who meets and falls in love with Rosie, the beautiful dancer who is married to Marco, an archaeologist. They soon become entangled in an adulterous affair, which on becoming known to Marco leads to him going away to Madras, leaving Rosie behind. Raju and Rosie collaborate, and make Rosie a successful dancer. Soon, they make a lot of money together. However, it all goes wrong when Raju uses illicit means to get some of Rosie’s jewellery from Marco. Raju is sent to jail for two years for this act.
On his subsequent release, Raju falls into a peculiar situation where he is catapulted as a holy saint due to a mere coincidence. Soon, he becomes famous among many villagers and receives immense adulation and comfort from them. But what happens when he is asked to solve a severe problem faced by the villagers? Will Raju be able to live up to his pious image?
The plot oscillates between the first and third person narrative throughout the novel, with the former telling us about the young and spirited Raju and the latter telling us the story about Raju the saint. The novel is one of Narayan’s most famous works and won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1960. The Guide has also been made into a film.