A Love of Long Ago – Ruskin Bond: Book Review by Asha Seth

Author: Ruskin Bond | Genre: Fiction, Short-stories | Publisher: Rupa Publications

There are many stages of love—the first encounter, stolen glances, secret kisses, longing, and sometimes, heartbreak. Featuring classics like ‘Time Stops at Shamli’, ‘Who Kissed Me in the Dark?’ and ‘The Girl on the Train’, the heartwarming collection of stories in A Love of Long Ago captures the range of feelings that are indubitably part of the infinite spectrum of love.

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I have had a great love or two. None of which led to anything permanent and so I’ve remained a bachelor all this time. But what it did leave me with was a bunch of memories and ideas for a few stories…

And thus begins the semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical journey that is ‘A Love of Long Ago’. This is a collection of some of Mr. Bond’s fondest short stories. Comprises of – A Love of Long Ago, Who kissed me in the Dark, Time stops at Shamli, Girl on the train, A year of Kissing, and Binya Passes by. All the tales are short, sweet, and written in the style Ruskin Bond’s books are popular for.

I may stop loving you, But I’ll never stop loving the days I loved you.

Reading this book transports you to your own years of innocent, nascent love when one would yearn for the mere voice, or sight, or the oblivious presence of the beloved whom the heart dearly loves and can’t be without. One can’t help but cherish those memories as you tread down the road of Mr. Bond’s own delicate encounters with love, in different seasons of his life.

You relive those cute, aching moments as one feels in times of known farewells or unexpected desertion not knowing if there’ll be another chance of rendezvous. All this and a lot more bittersweet emotions come oozing from the anecdotes that the author has ever so delicately penned. The stories tug at your heart and you won’t put the book down unless your done devouring every word there is.

‘A Love of Long Ago’ is a book that grants nostalgic solace on days when the heart’s restless. It promises the exhilaration that bursts through you upon feeling love the first time. From hills to the city plains, it will handhold you through some of the best landscapes and how! So grab yourself some hot tea, a place by the fire, and soak into this book on a rainy night or just find a cozy spot under a tree and enjoy the spring as you delve in it.

Evocative narration, simplistic vocabulary, heartwarming imagery, and soulful snippets of love make the stories a delightful read. Recommended for all ages.

Have you read ‘A Love of Long Ago’? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.