The book was republished outside India in 1982 by Penguin Classics. The book includes 19 stories, all set in the fictional town of Malgudi, located in South India. Each of the stories portrays a facet of life in Malgudi. The New York Times described the virtue of the book as "everyone in the book seems to have a capacity for responding to the quality of his particular hour. It's an art we need to study and revive."
In 1986, a few of the stories in the book were included in the Malgudi Days television series and, directed by actor and director, Shankar Nag.