Title: A Face in the Dark and Other Hauntings: Collected Stories of the Supernatural
Author: Ruskin Bond
Publisher: Viking Books (January 2004)
Genre: Fiction (short stories)
Set in: India
Ruskin Bond. How much do I love this author. Not because I have read his work extensively, but because he is the first author that made me feel like I could love reading. He showed me that reading could be a pleasure which could transport you to a different world altogether. He gave me my first glimpse into how the reading world could be. All this because of one short story called The Cherry Tree
The Cherry Tree is the story of a young boy from the hill station of Mussoorie who plants a cherry tree and watches it grow. Such a simple story but it evokes such beautiful imagery. We had this story in our curriculum as children and I seriously cannot recall the number of times I have read it. In fact I have still kept my English textbook just because of this one story. That’s the Ruskin Bond magic.
My point being that when I saw the book A Face in the Dark and Other Hauntings in the library I picked it up. I couldn’t wait to read it and I was not disappointed in the least. This collection of short stories has all kinds of stories, the theme being “supernatural”. There are stories of ghosts, fairies and jinns, most happening in the backdrop of the beautiful hill stations of Northern India. There is also Rudyard Kipling’s and Sherlock Holmes Ghost.
Ruskin Bond does not write complicated words, nor does he write complicated stories. These stories reminded me of stories I’ve heard from my friends and relatives, of the time when we all used to settle down at night and make up ghost stories to frighten each other.
But none of the stories really scare you, they are simply meant to entertain. Almost all these stories are based in the mountains and in actual places, be it the story of the fairies on the Pari Tibba hill or stories based in the forests of India. Some of the stories are even hilarious but almost all make you smile as you read the last line. How many ghosts stories can you say that for?
Please read this book. It’s the simplicity of the stories which make them beautiful. They can be read by children as well as enjoyed by adults.
I don’t have the capability to rate this book but for me Ruskin Bond will always have a 5/5.
I’m adding this to the South Asian Authors Challenge. Although Ruskin Bond is British by birth, he was born in India and has stayed in India almost all his life. He writes about India and it’s people with as much love and affection. In fact, Ruskin Bond is India’s one of most favorite authors and his stories are included in textbooks in India.