And I am disappointed :( Yes, I know he is hailed as one of the greatest writers ever. Lured by the praises and discerning that his books are flavored with beautiful descriptions of nature(which I love reading for it brings those scenes alive in front of my eyes), I picked up an omnibus from Flipkart.
I did enjoy reading 'The Room on the Roof' and 'Vagrants in the Valley'. The descriptions of picturesque Dehradun were delightful to read and the theme of a young boy breaking free from his shackles and boldly making his way in the world, trying to shape his future even as he struggles to sustain himself was heartening to read. My empathy and appreciation went out to the many people who must be living such lives in the real world. I also enjoyed reading about the bond of friendship that ties Rusty and his friends together and the unadulterated fun that they all have even though life is pretty hard for them. The ending which is not so conclusive adds to the story's value. It is left to the reader's imagination to figure out whether Rusty does make his fortune or if he would reach London at all, for that matter.
Bond has beautifully sketched the lives of people who are left to their own means in this world and has completely explored the concept of strangers coming together for brief periods in life. Now, the two novels that I have talked about so far are actually one single story. Vagrants in the Valley is a sequel to the first book. They can and probably should have the same theme and flavours.
But then I started reading 'Delhi is not Far' and lo! The same theme of a man struggling through life all by himself while nurturing a distant dream, strangers being friends and helping each other, each person wanting to break free from his current circumstances but held a prisoner in them, and ... hold your breath - repetition of a character and a related scene from the previous novel! I cannot accept this from a writer of that stature. There is a mentally retarded character named the 'Goonga' who can speak only a word which is 'Goo'. The scene where the Goonga is harassed by customers at a tea shop and the protagonist shows kindness to him features in both the novels.This is the point where I lost my patience.
I do not know if I am being too hasty in being disappointed. Maybe I should not judge such a widely acclaimed author after reading just two and half of his works. Or should I have given some gap between reading one and the other? I did. I almost gave it a month. How long a gap is required? A year? But I would still remember every detail and even if I did not, the next story is sure to bring it all flooding back into my memory, thanks to the remarkable resemblance of theme, characters and story line.
I do not want to offend the many hard core fans that he has, but I am certainly entitled to my opinion. I feel really sad when I cannot complete a book and this omnibus is staring at me from my table with three fourth of it left unfinished. Oh how I hate this feeling!
Do any of you know his other novels in this collection to be different? If yes, please tell me which one and I shall gladly pick up the book and pursue it again. For, I did like his way with words and the pictures he paints with them. Just that I am unable to bear the monotony. If you have indeed offered something even slightly different in your other novels, I would gladly join your fan club Mr. Bond! Believe me, I wish to.
PS: I am aware that some amount of research on the internet can get me the answers I seek but as I already said, I have run out of patience. I bought this book after quite a bit of review reading and seem to have gone wrong in choosing it .So if fellow readers can help, I would be glad :)