Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"The Eyes Have It" by Ruskin Bond (1982)

Ruskin Bond (born 1934, Kasauli, India) was born in India.  His parents were both English, his father an officer in the British Army.  When he was four his parents divorced.  His father returned to England and Bond remained in India with his mother who remarried an Indian.  Bond was educated in Indian schools and adopted into a Hindu family.   He has written over 300 short stories, numerous essays and novellas and 30 children's books.   

"The Eyes Have It" (at the close of the post I will tell you how you can read this story) is set on a train in India, like a lot of other very good short stories.  It would not be out of place in an anthology of children's short stories but it certainly will delight adults.  The story is narrated by a visually impaired, not fully blind, young man.  He can see other people but cannot really discern their features. 
He notices a woman entering his compartment and hears her parents checking very careful that she is comfortable and secure before leaving her.  As the train moves out he speaks to her and she she did not know he was also in the compartment. He cannot really see what she looks like but he is intrigued by your voice. As she gets up to leave at her stop another man joins the compartment. The narrator asks him to describe the woman.  (Spoiler alert).  The man tells him the woman is quite beautiful. He says her most striking feature is her eyes.  She is totally blind.  Shades of O. Henry here.  

This story was fun to read. Some might see the ending as a bit smaltzy and maybe it is but it was moving and I felt like I was on the train.

You can read this story in full in the Kindle sample of The Best of Ruskin Bond.

I have several of his stories in anthologies of Indian short stories and hope to read more of his work.

An excellant interview with Ruskin Bond in The Hindustan Times can be found here, including more information on his illustrious career.

Mel u

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