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Book Review – ‘A Gathering of Friends’ by Ruskin Bond

I read ‘A Gathering of Friends’ by Ruskin Bond just now. Its a book with short stories personally picked by Mr. Bond from his previous writings. This would call this book a bouquet of short stories with each story resembling a unique flower in a bouquet. This is very easy to read. Lovely, in fact. I would recommend it to every age group, including kids. The stories majorly are set up in different Himalayan villages. Being an Indian, I’ve not heard of those villages myself. Each story is unique in itself. I heard Mr. Bond in one interview, saying that, a critic called his short stories plotless and Mr. Bond also agrees with him mentioning that his stories are majorly about the character. After reading this book, I can’t agree more with Mr. Bond. His characters are very well defined and established and the story simply goes along with the character. I didn’t see the need for the plot, as such. The book is very refreshing, given it is a collection of stories from the times of early days of independent India. The stories seemed ageless.

I loved all the stories and ‘The Blue Umbrella’ is my favorite in particular. The details were ravishing and I felt myself walking the through the streets of Mussorie and many other remote Himalayan villages. I totally enjoyed reading this book. There are many stories which I can relate myself to. Some are about friends, some are about kindness, while others are about first crushes and first kisses.

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