The Bachelor of Arts, R. K. Narayan
The last time I read Narayan, I was living in South India, and it only seemed appropriate to get more familiar with Malgudi. I worried I'd be less charmed from afar, but R. K. Narayan really was a master, and I savored The Bachelor of Arts.
One of the book's many merits is its last line, a meditative gem. The narrator, fretting over an unanswered letter, is unsatisfied when his friend asks why he always assumes the worst. The friend throws up his arms in despair: "But then, it is a poet's business only to ask questions; he cannot always expect an answer."