Book Review

Maharani by Ruskin Bond

Wishing to read a simple novel over an evening, I picked up Maharani by Ruskin Bond, and it was an enjoyable read. At 180 pages, this is a small book with large margins, making it ideal for light reading.  The story is about an old Queen (Maharani) living in Mussoorie of Independent India, told from the view of her friend (Ruskin Bond as himself). The novel is not a biography of the Queen nor an Autobiography of the author too, it travels between the two seamlessly.

We feel like we have been invited to the palace a few times for dinner or celebrations and observe what’s happening there. In other times, we join Mr Bond for long walks around Mussoorie. I liked the portion where Mr Bond watches movies being screen in old cinema halls with a young boy Pablo and helps him in his collection of Movie Posters. The visit of H.H. (The Queen) and Mr Bond for a nightcap to Hotel Savoy, which has seen better times, turning into a binge drinking session was a riot to read. The narration of how hundreds of rats grew fatter and fatter, and take over a whole portion of the palace was disgusting but connects with the story well. There was a small thriller side story of Sister Clarissa, a nun, who was the housekeeper of the palace.

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