Title: Small Towns, Big Stories
Author: Ruskin Bond
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
‘Small Towns, Big Stories’ is a collection of 21 short stories written by Ruskin Bond. Some of the stories in the collection are never published before, while some of them are the most cherished ones.
About the Author
Ruskin Bond is one of the most famous Indian authors. He has penned several bestselling novels and collections of short stories, essays and poems. He has won a number of awards, including the Padma Shri, Padam Bhushan & Sahitya Academy Award. Many children grow up reading Bond’s stories.
While children grow up reading books by Ruskin Bond, this was my first book by Ruskin Bond. The reason being I didn’t read any books during my childhood & early adolescent. But after reading this book, I know why Bond is favorite among children.
The stories in this collection provide a soothing effect. We get a pleasant feeling while reading the stories & even after reading them. I was looking for something light, after reading ‘Angels & Demons’- which has a quite exhausting end. So, I picked up this collection & it did serve its purpose.
The stories featured in this collection are diverse in a sense, but still have a lot in common. There’s a sense of adventure in almost all the stories. Most stories have a young boy or girl in the centre. Some others have an ‘I’ character. The ones with ‘I’ character are semi- autobiographical. But as a reader, one fails to find out where & when the line between the fact and fiction is crossed by the author.
I loved reading all the stories.They are of varying length ranging from 2 pages to 30 pages. What I didn’t like about the collection is the recurring episodes. Railway Platforms of small towns, a brook in the jungle, rumors of a Leopard roaming around, a young boy selling assorted items keep appearing again & again.
I feel this book is not meant to be read in a single seating. The best way would be reading 2-3 stories at a time & yielding the pleasure gradually. Perhaps, the recurring episodes won’t bother that way.
My favorite ones from the collection are The Night Train at Deoli, Time Stops at Shamli, The Tail of the Lizard, The Funeral and A Long Walk for Bina. The stories in this collection are more suited for teenagers & children. But if an adult reader picks up this book, he might end up feeling nostalgic. So, I feel anyone can give it a try.
My Rating: ****(4/5)
What are your views on this book? What are your favorite stories by Bond? And did you also grow up reading Ruskin Bond? I would love to know. Thanks.
*I received a review copy from the Publishers. Views expressed are entirely personal & unbiased.*