books by Ruskin Bond

With a literary career spanning over six decades, Ruskin Bond is well-known as the Indian author who makes the hills come alive and takes us back to our childhood days where life felt infinitely easier. But, if you thought that his writing was meant only for children, think again. Bond’s literary repertoire extends beyond children and young adults and includes stories that are appropriate for adults as well. If you’re keen on taking a trip down the Bond memory lane or on exploring his writing for the first time as an adult, here’s a list of his books to help you discover the beauty and versatility of his writing.

books by Ruskin Bond

01

Time Stops At Shamli

For Ruskin Bond, the real India is found in small towns, rather than the villages or large cities and industrial centres. Small-town India is the one he identifies with – mini worlds where change is slow, where old landmarks survive, where people have long memories and the time to indulge in them, where the dusty lanes have a myriad of stories to share. This is beautifully portrayed in Time Stops At Shamli, a collection of 21 short stories that brings Bond’s characters to life, with their quiet heroism, grace under pressure, honesty, and faith in family and community. If you’re looking for a Bond book to start off with, this collection is the perfect one as it tackles a whole range of human experiences with tremendous clarity, and brings the lives and dreams of a host of characters from small-town India alive on every page.

Buy it here.

books by Ruskin Bond

02

A Flight Of Pigeons

Set in Shahjahanpur against the backdrop of the First War of Independence, this novella is the story of Ruth Labadoor and her family. When Ruth’s father is killed by sepoys, her family is forced to go into hiding. She and her mother are discovered and forcefully taken to the home of the Pathan leader, Javed Khan, who wishes to marry Ruth. Opposing the match, Ruth’s mother strikes a deal with Javed stating that her acceptance of his marriage proposal for Ruth would depend on the victors of the war. Mixing fact and fiction, this classic story about the twists and turns of fate, history, politics, and the human heart is likely to be appreciated by adult readers of Ruskin Bond’s writing.

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books by Ruskin Bond

03

The Sensualist

Starkly different from Ruskin Bond’s usual writing, this novella was originally published in the 1970s and led to obscenity charges being filed against Bond. This is the story of a young man who needs to take control of his spiralling libido before self-destructing. The protagonist’s struggles with his personal demons gives us an insight into Bond’s talents as a writer who is adept at exploring the darker aspects of the human mind. The erotic element as well as the bold and powerful nature of The Sensualist makes it a compelling read that is appropriate for adults.

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books by Ruskin Bond

04

Delhi Is Not Far

Set in the small town of Pipalnagar, Delhi Is Not Far tells the tale of some of its residents who dream of moving to the big city of Delhi. Deep (the barber) dreams of giving the Prime Minister a haircut, Pitamber dreams of upgrading to an autorickshaw from a hand-pulled cycle rickshaw, Aziz dreams of owning a shop in Chandni Chowk, while Arun, the protagonist and a struggling writer of Urdu detective fiction, dreams of writing a blockbuster. Over the course of the story, Arun falls in love with Kamla, a sex worker, and makes friends with Suraj, an orphan. He also gathers the courage to go to Delhi in an attempt to chase his dreams. A poignant tale of ambition, love, friendship, and homecoming, Delhi Is Not Far is a moving portrait of small-town India presented by Ruskin Bond with his ‘characteristic sympathy and quiet wisdom’.

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books by Ruskin Bond

05

Susanna’s Seven Husbands

Susanna has built up a reputation as a merry widow as she moves from one marriage to another, leaving several dead husbands in her wake. Her neighbour, Arun, has been in love with her for years but hasn’t acted on it since he is much younger. As he sees her notoriety grow with each new husband, Arun begins to wonder if there’s any truth to the gossip surrounding Susanna. Characteristic to Ruskin Bond’s style, Susanna is an intriguingly etched heroine who is both generous and cruel. The story is written simply with a well-structured plot and a strong thread of suspense that hides the mystery hidden within the seven gravestones of Susanna’s husbands. The novella was also adapted into the feature film, Saat Khoon Maaf, by filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj.

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books by Ruskin Bond

06

Landour Days

Published in 2016, this slim book collects extracts from Ruskin Bond’s diaries from the preceding year. The book follows the seasonal calendar, starting with April, a month of new beginnings, and depicts Bond’s thoughts on writing, his life as a writer, his relationship with nature and with the people living around him. His writing paints a multihued image of life in Landour and Mussoorie and shows us Bond at various stages and ages in his life. What stands out, though, is the unpretentious nature of his work and his mastery over the language. Filled with warmth, laughter and a ‘sense of humour’, Landour Days manages to portray an accurate image of the author’s life in his beloved mountains.

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books by Ruskin Bond

07

Death Under The Deodars

In the titular short story, Miss Ripley-Bean is enjoying a quiet moment alone under the deodars one evening in late October when she inadvertently notices a murder taking place. Gathering her powers of observation, and accompanied by her Tibetan terrier, Fluff, she decides to get to the heart of the murder. Set in the Mussoorie of an era long past, this collection of eight murder mysteries features sinister cases involving a murdered priest, a man who is born evil, arsenic delivered via the post, strychnine in the cognac, the body in the box bed, and more. This book is the perfect read for those who love reading Miss Marple-esque mysteries and is sure to keep you enthralled and entertained until the very end.

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books by Ruskin Bond

08

A Face In The Dark And Other Hauntings

If you were under the impression that Ruskin Bond only wrote stories that evoked feelings of nostalgia about the simpler times of our lives, then A Face In The Dark is going to shake you up. In this book, you will encounter a solitary school teacher who has an unpleasant encounter with faceless people, a ghost who stands outside a movie theatre, an author who lives with a ghost, and many other tales featuring the supernatural. Aimed at making readers ponder upon the mysteries of human existence and the supernatural, this collection of 28 short stories are spooky, scary and filled with the creepy ghoulies who come alive in the dark.

Buy it here.

books by Ruskin Bond

09

Lone Fox Dancing

Lone Fox Dancing is Ruskin Bond’s autobiography and takes its name from a poem of the same name penned by the author. Divided into four parts, the book covers his childhood, school years, life in England, and his years in his beloved hills. It shows us the origin stories for all that he has written – the sources of inspiration for his short stories, novels, and poems, as well as the very real people who’ve been immortalised in the pages of different stories. Filled with anecdotes from various moments of his (thankfully) long life, this deeply moving and warm autobiography is much like the author himself – witty, understated, and enduring.

Buy it here.

Oishani Mitra

Oishani Mitra

A love for the written word has led Oishani to structure her life around reading. Books introduced her to a world filled with so many possibilities, and helped her understand the power of a well-written story. With an educational background in English Literature and Film & Television Studies, she has worked as the editor for an arts magazine in the past. She believes in the healing powers of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee and the chance to explore a new city. And, no matter where she might be, her Kindle (loaded with books) is never too far from her person.

She is the editor at The Curious Reader. Read her pieces, here.