This novel completes the informal trilogy which began with Swami and Friends and The Bachelor of Arts. The protagonist, Krishna, is an English teacher at the same college he had attended as a student. Although Krishna has recently married, his wife Susila and their daughter live with his parents-in-law some miles away. The story opens with his immediate family deciding to join him in Malgudi. Krishna is initially frightened by his new state of affairs, but he soon finds that his love for both his wife and child grows deeper than he could have imagined.
"Mr. Narayan has repeatedly been compared with Chekhov. Ordinarily such comparisons are gratuitous and strained, but in this case there are such clear and insistent echoes that any careful reader will be aware of them. There is that sense of rightness which transcends mere structure. There is the inexplicable blending of tragedy and humor. Most of all, there is a brooding awareness of fate which makes the story seem not authored, but merely translated."—J.F. Muehl, Saturday Review
"[Narayan] does not deal in exemplary fates, and the Western novel's machinery of retribution is far too grandiose for him. . . . In Narayan's world, scores are not settled but dissolved, recycled, restated. 'Both of us will shed our forms soon and perhaps we could meet again, who knows? So goodbye for the present.' These are the concluding words for the novel A Tiger for Malgudi, but they constitute a universal epilogue one could append to most of Narayan's fiction."—Russell Davies, Times Literary Supplement