Thanks to Rupa Publications, we got some delightful short stories by Ruskin Bond to make our Sweet November. We have with us four books, each an anthology with varying themes.

The Song of Many Rivers-

In this book, the author educates us about the many rivers and infrastructure laid around these rivers through a simple narrative. In the titular story, he use a first person narrative to describe the Suswa river, complete with historical and mythological inputs, along with the traditions that the local populace believes in. Rich with his own philosophy of perceiving matter, this is a book I would want in my school syllabus if I’m ever to know and explore these waters.

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The Laughing Skull-

To be honest, the cover kind of intrigued me. It’s been long since I read Bond’s horror stories, and even the idea of recounting these stories excited me. Of his many famous horror works, we have over twenty tales featured here that would terrify you, engage you in an adventure, and some will just humor you. It’s after reading these that I feel the need to revisit the simple stories I haven’t read in a while, ones that thrilled and fascinated without going overboard.

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White Clouds, Green Mountains-

While he educated us about the rivers in The Song of Many Rivers, the author here composes stories around a theme he finds the most comforting, and is too happy to talk about. His happiness when he talks about the mountains reflects directly in the stories of this book, which is just an open invitation for everyone to come and embrace the beauty of the hills. In these stories he brings up the lives and condition of people residing here, their fears, their joy, their traditions. If you’ve ever been near the mountains, well this book will rekindle your memories. To those who have never set their foot here, this book serves as a love-filled invitation. Accept it.

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The Empty House-

While the earlier books covered nature and most things natural, Bond compiles a list of stories in this book around supernatural elements. The opening story is by Rudyard Kipling titled ‘The Return of Imray’, while Bond closes this anthology with his story ‘Gone Fishing’. The assortment of stories is just not to be missed. Fantastic beasts and where to find them, you ask? Go fish this book out.

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Overall Rating: 4.5/5