The Hilly Billy by Shivdutt Sharma is one such book that makes you nostalgic about your childhood. It directly transports to your good exemplary days of childhood. This novel is a perfect instance of Indian writing which was once written at the times of R.K. Narayan, MAthew Arnold, Ruskin Bond etc. I got this copy from Anuj Kumar, Kalamos Literary Services in return of an honest review. Lets go deep into it :
Cover- The cover of the book is colourful and fascinating. The readers are excited to read it.
Title- The title ‘The Hill Billy’ is one of the unique and apt ones. The story revolves around it.
Foreword- The most enthralling part about this book is that the forword is written by none other than Ruskin Bond whom we still admire for his short stories and novels.
A mango ensures the birth of a son…
Ghosts hoot and cackle in a forest…
A tiger strikes terror in the heart of a village…
A boy experiences the first stirrings of desire…
On trips back to his hometown, memories appear, cling, and then fade away like the mist in the Himalayan foothills. Tracing the pangs and pleasures of growing up during the time of missionary schools, wind-up gramophones, hand-pulled designer rickshaws, maharanis in their imitation castles, busty film stars of the black-and-white era – a lone, all-brown boy in an all-white American school comes to grips with his coming of age.
Fast-paced and furiously funny, The Hill Billy zips up the otherwise tranquil, languid, laid-back life in a hill station that hasn’t quite got over the hangover of its British past.
Setting- The story is set up at the time of before Independence where there was belief in ghosts, superstitions and practises like child marriage, sati and many more were applicable. The book is a memoir of author’s childhood. In the book he takes you from Silakot, Pakistan, where he was born to the hills of Mussoorie, India.
Plot- The author’s plot construction is appreciable. He transports the minds of the readers to our childhood days. The author has highlighted those old elements of superstition where the protagonist is born out of mango which brings laugh to the readers.
Characterisation- The author has beautifully delineated his characters by making them superstitious, reasonable at times and hilarious most of the times. This reminds us of our so called Indian families where relations are given importance than anything else. He has shown us the ties of Indian families in a simple, yet effective way.
Style- The novel is fast paced and nostalgic.The writing style of the author is simple, lucid and pithy. There are short and shorter sentences in it which makes good sense. We find Hindi words and sentences too but they are well translated in the end so the readers are not disappointed at the end. There are over punctuations at some places. But the highlight is the birth of the protagonist from a mangi tree. It serves as an icing on the cake.
About the Author
After pursuing a Master’s Degree in English Literature, Shiv entered the world of advertising. Spending several years at learning the art and craft of copywriting with some of the leading advertising agencies of Mumbai, he moved up as a Creative Director and won awards for creative excellence from Cag, Advertising Club and Reader’s Digest. It’s surprising that for a trained writer, he ventured forth into writing his first debut work with a spiritual message, at a rather late stage in his professional life. This was inspired by his visit to the Sri Ramana Ashram and the holy mountain of Arunachala towards the end of 2010. Today, he works as the Chief Editor and Creative Director with a well-known publishing firm in Mumbai. he can be reached at : http://yogiimpressions.com/shivdutt-sharma