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KIM - Children's Books Literature Classics, Complete Edition (Annotated, Illustrated)

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KIM - Children's Books Literature Classics, Complete Edition ADDITIONAL CONTENT : + Active Table of Contents + Illustration Color from Original Book + The Author Biography + Annotation - Plot Summary - Characters Lists - Adaptations OVERVIEW: Kim is a picaresque novel by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published serially in McClure's Magazine from December 1900 to October 1901 KIM - Children's Books Literature Classics, Complete Edition ADDITIONAL CONTENT : + Active Table of Contents + Illustration Color from Original Book + The Author Biography + Annotation - Plot Summary - Characters Lists - Adaptations OVERVIEW: Kim is a picaresque novel by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published serially in McClure's Magazine from December 1900 to October 1901 as well as in Cassell's Magazine from January to November 1901, and first published in book form by Macmillan & Co. Ltd in October 1901. The story unfolds against the backdrop of The Great Game, the political conflict between Russia and Britain in Central Asia. It is set after the Second Afghan War which ended in 1881, but before the Third, probably in the period 1893–98. The novel is notable for its detailed portrait of the people, culture, and varied religions of India. "The book presents a vivid picture of India, its teeming populations, religions, and superstitions, and the life of the bazaars and the road." In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Kim #78 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. SUMMARY: Kim (Kimball O'Hara) is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier and a poor white mother who have both died in poverty. Living a vagabond existence in India under British rule in the late 19th century, Kim earns his living by begging and running small errands on the streets of Lahore. He occasionally works for Mahbub Ali, a Pashtun horse trader who is one of the native operatives of the British secret service. Kim is so immersed in the local culture, few realise he is a white child, though he carries a packet of documents from his father entrusted to him by an Indian woman who cared for him. 5 STARS REVIEWS: Laurie - Goodreads Kim served as inspiration for my novel "The Game", the seventh entry in the Mary Russell series. Feel free to come and join in the discussion, even if you come across this after December has passed--the discussion will remain open indefinitely for new thoughts and comments. Click for more information about the Virtual Book Club Oh, this is such a wonderful book. Coming-of-age tale and historical treatise; spy thriller and travel narrative; rousing adventure coupled with a sleek and subtle tale of the meeting of ancient traditions—and all of it told in a rotund and glorious English that would make Shakespeare feel right at home. Read it aloud: "He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam-Zammah…" The short patter of a two-word phrase: when used to open a book it is a vigorous and active statement, not some paired monosyllable made feeble by surrounding text. The phrase, tucked apart by the comma, is followed by the perfect juxtaposition of defiance and municipal orders: the mind's eye is immediately shown a small brown urchin facing down the cumbersome, pale, foreign tools of white authority. Then comes the drawn-out adverb astride: a mere eight words into the story, and we receive our first intimation that this creature who sits will turn out to straddle much more than the barrel of a big gun. And then the personification of that gun, Zam-Zammah, a name that fills the mouth from teeth to soft palate. Prose that swells the chest and engages the mind. And I'll bet the bastard didn't even fiddle endlessly with that line in order to get it right. Rudyard Kipling breathed the air of India for his formative years. He was an Englishman, who never doubted the superiority of the British way of life, or of the British person.


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KIM - Children's Books Literature Classics, Complete Edition ADDITIONAL CONTENT : + Active Table of Contents + Illustration Color from Original Book + The Author Biography + Annotation - Plot Summary - Characters Lists - Adaptations OVERVIEW: Kim is a picaresque novel by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published serially in McClure's Magazine from December 1900 to October 1901 KIM - Children's Books Literature Classics, Complete Edition ADDITIONAL CONTENT : + Active Table of Contents + Illustration Color from Original Book + The Author Biography + Annotation - Plot Summary - Characters Lists - Adaptations OVERVIEW: Kim is a picaresque novel by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published serially in McClure's Magazine from December 1900 to October 1901 as well as in Cassell's Magazine from January to November 1901, and first published in book form by Macmillan & Co. Ltd in October 1901. The story unfolds against the backdrop of The Great Game, the political conflict between Russia and Britain in Central Asia. It is set after the Second Afghan War which ended in 1881, but before the Third, probably in the period 1893–98. The novel is notable for its detailed portrait of the people, culture, and varied religions of India. "The book presents a vivid picture of India, its teeming populations, religions, and superstitions, and the life of the bazaars and the road." In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Kim #78 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. SUMMARY: Kim (Kimball O'Hara) is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier and a poor white mother who have both died in poverty. Living a vagabond existence in India under British rule in the late 19th century, Kim earns his living by begging and running small errands on the streets of Lahore. He occasionally works for Mahbub Ali, a Pashtun horse trader who is one of the native operatives of the British secret service. Kim is so immersed in the local culture, few realise he is a white child, though he carries a packet of documents from his father entrusted to him by an Indian woman who cared for him. 5 STARS REVIEWS: Laurie - Goodreads Kim served as inspiration for my novel "The Game", the seventh entry in the Mary Russell series. Feel free to come and join in the discussion, even if you come across this after December has passed--the discussion will remain open indefinitely for new thoughts and comments. Click for more information about the Virtual Book Club Oh, this is such a wonderful book. Coming-of-age tale and historical treatise; spy thriller and travel narrative; rousing adventure coupled with a sleek and subtle tale of the meeting of ancient traditions—and all of it told in a rotund and glorious English that would make Shakespeare feel right at home. Read it aloud: "He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam-Zammah…" The short patter of a two-word phrase: when used to open a book it is a vigorous and active statement, not some paired monosyllable made feeble by surrounding text. The phrase, tucked apart by the comma, is followed by the perfect juxtaposition of defiance and municipal orders: the mind's eye is immediately shown a small brown urchin facing down the cumbersome, pale, foreign tools of white authority. Then comes the drawn-out adverb astride: a mere eight words into the story, and we receive our first intimation that this creature who sits will turn out to straddle much more than the barrel of a big gun. And then the personification of that gun, Zam-Zammah, a name that fills the mouth from teeth to soft palate. Prose that swells the chest and engages the mind. And I'll bet the bastard didn't even fiddle endlessly with that line in order to get it right. Rudyard Kipling breathed the air of India for his formative years. He was an Englishman, who never doubted the superiority of the British way of life, or of the British person.

30 review for KIM - Children's Books Literature Classics, Complete Edition (Annotated, Illustrated)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Kim , 13, a lonely, British orphan boy, born in India, his widowed father, was in Queen Victoria's army, but he died, a hopeless, pathetic, drunk. Kim's full name is Kimball O'Hara, the poorest of the poor, who lives mostly, in the slum streets of Lahore, the Punjab (now part of Pakistan). Sometimes the child, stays with an old Indian woman, addicted to opium, naturally, he prefers the outside, begging for money, trying to stay alive and surviving, day to day... Later meeting a strange Lama, fro Kim , 13, a lonely, British orphan boy, born in India, his widowed father, was in Queen Victoria's army, but he died, a hopeless, pathetic, drunk. Kim's full name is Kimball O'Hara, the poorest of the poor, who lives mostly, in the slum streets of Lahore, the Punjab (now part of Pakistan). Sometimes the child, stays with an old Indian woman, addicted to opium, naturally, he prefers the outside, begging for money, trying to stay alive and surviving, day to day... Later meeting a strange Lama, from faraway Tibet, while playing with his friends, in front of a museum, the monk is seeking information, about "The River of The Arrow", legend has it, that Buddha himself, shot an arrow in the sky, and when it landed, a river appeared miraculously. Anyone who bathes in the water, will have all his sins removed, and become pure again, the problem, nobody knows where this stream, is located. Kim decides impulsively, to follow Teshoo Lama, the monk in the "Search", becomes his disciple, in reality. Wanting to have fun, and exciting adventures., also, Kim is tired of the city. But first his friend, the mysterious Afghan horse trader, Mahbub Ali, who works for the British, as a secret agent. Has a message for Kim, to deliverer ( a dangerous mission) to Colonel Creighton, head of the British spy agency and get well paid too. War will occur in the north, as it always does, here, instigated by the Russians. Travelling by train, they encounter a colorful group of people, inside, all India goes in them, Kim begins to love the mad monk and the old man, likewise (the father he needs, the son he lacks) . Still the road, is endless, the odd pair, are not successful, in finding the river, tired and discouraged... Then the two encounter, Kim's father's, old regiment, by accident, the boy, against his will, is detained and made to attend, a British school. After three long years, the kid learns to read and write, in English, grows to enjoy learning, but never forgetting the monk.. Given six months, to go with his friend, and resume their impossible, strange, quest. The lama had visited numerous, Buddhist shrines, waiting for Kim, many unlikely incidents happen, on the road, even arriving near, the mighty Himalayas. Greatly helped by a rich, cantankerous, kindly woman, the Sahiba, as they go and see this unique land, spies are everywhere here, unknown dangers, but the real story of this book, is India... As Kim asks... who is Kim? Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Jains, Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, British or Indian. That question can be answered very easily, Kim is now a man, who loves India....You will too , if you read this novel.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    Although somewhat drowned in Orientalist ideals and British colonialism, Kim is an exciting tale of espionage and adventure for kids of all ages 9 to 99. It is an exciting read. I just with that Kipling had been a little less bigoted towards the Empire. Nonetheless, probably the peak of his writing for children at least in terms of character and plot development and complexity.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “There is no sin so great as ignorance. Remember this.” ― Rudyard Kipling, Kim This is one of those novels that I read and instantly regreted not reading earlier when I was a boy. I was able, however, to experience reading this with my two kids (one boy 12; one girl 11). It was perfect. I wandered into it expecting a well-written, more-or-less Empire-centric, Colonial novel. It was way more than that. I get the whole Postcolonial Lit thing, but I'm not ready to abandon Kim to this debate or even “There is no sin so great as ignorance. Remember this.” ― Rudyard Kipling, Kim This is one of those novels that I read and instantly regreted not reading earlier when I was a boy. I was able, however, to experience reading this with my two kids (one boy 12; one girl 11). It was perfect. I wandered into it expecting a well-written, more-or-less Empire-centric, Colonial novel. It was way more than that. I get the whole Postcolonial Lit thing, but I'm not ready to abandon Kim to this debate or even the Colonial designation. It is so much more. It is a bildungsroman, an adventure story, a wild vibration of the whole of India (North and South, mountains and plains, rich and poor, rivers and roads, believer and unbeliever). I was a tad worried at first that the specificity of the place and time would throw off my kids , but it was like driving through a country bazaar in a foreign country. They didn't understand every sign or shout, but were transported by the smells, the vistas and the atmposphere of Kipling's last great masterpiece.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amit Mishra

    The best work of Rudyard Kipling. In it, he explored many of his childhood memories of India, and it is generally considered to be his most successful full-length novel.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Kim served as inspiration for my novel "The Game", the seventh entry in the Mary Russell series. Feel free to come and join in the discussion, even if you come across this after December has passed--the discussion will remain open indefinitely for new thoughts and comments. Click for more information about the Virtual Book Club Oh, this is such a wonderful book. Coming-of-age tale and historical treatise; spy thriller and travel narrative; rousing adventure coupled with a sleek and subtle tal Kim served as inspiration for my novel "The Game", the seventh entry in the Mary Russell series. Feel free to come and join in the discussion, even if you come across this after December has passed--the discussion will remain open indefinitely for new thoughts and comments. Click for more information about the Virtual Book Club Oh, this is such a wonderful book. Coming-of-age tale and historical treatise; spy thriller and travel narrative; rousing adventure coupled with a sleek and subtle tale of the meeting of ancient traditions—and all of it told in a rotund and glorious English that would make Shakespeare feel right at home. Read it aloud: "He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam-Zammah…" The short patter of a two-word phrase: when used to open a book it is a vigorous and active statement, not some paired monosyllable made feeble by surrounding text. The phrase, tucked apart by the comma, is followed by the perfect juxtaposition of defiance and municipal orders: the mind's eye is immediately shown a small brown urchin facing down the cumbersome, pale, foreign tools of white authority. Then comes the drawn-out adverb astride: a mere eight words into the story, and we receive our first intimation that this creature who sits will turn out to straddle much more than the barrel of a big gun. And then the personification of that gun, Zam-Zammah, a name that fills the mouth from teeth to soft palate. Prose that swells the chest and engages the mind. And I'll bet the bastard didn't even fiddle endlessly with that line in order to get it right. Rudyard Kipling breathed the air of India for his formative years. He was an Englishman, who never doubted the superiority of the British way of life, or of the British person. And yet, Kim is infused with the opposite, the native's good-humored willingness to go along with the Sahib because after all, the poor white man needs to think himself superior, and it doesn't hurt to permit him, does it? Thus, Kipling's characters are both caricature and fully realized individuals: his Babu is every upstart Bengali who came up against the Raj and failed, although not quite utterly—and his Babu is a man with enough stout self-regard to play the role of an upstart Bengali who came up against the Raj and failed, because that role is a most useful disguise when dealing with men of the West, who see the world in two dimensions. Kim is both easy to read and hard to digest. Kipling's world view was that of the English Imperialist, with Victoria on the throne and God in His place. I don't know that I would call Kim a "profoundly embarrassing" novel, but it does without a doubt open a rich vein of discussion on colonial responsibilities, just as Mark Twain's novels open up discussions on American racism. Anyone interested in the background of the story, particularly the real life paradigms for Lurgan Sahib and Colonel Creighton, would do well to look at Peter Hopkirk's excellent Quest for Kim. It will have you eyeing the cost of travel to Simla…

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This coming of age tale had a lot of charm in many spots, but too often was a bit slow for my tastes. Kim O’Hara is a 12-year old orphan in Lahore in the 1850’s, child of an Irish soldier and Indian mother. Despite the loss of both parents he thrives well as a street urchin, always finding a way to make himself useful to community members or to engage sympathy from strangers and thus able to earn or beg his daily keep. His life opens up when he assists a Tibetan lama on a pilgrimage and joins hi This coming of age tale had a lot of charm in many spots, but too often was a bit slow for my tastes. Kim O’Hara is a 12-year old orphan in Lahore in the 1850’s, child of an Irish soldier and Indian mother. Despite the loss of both parents he thrives well as a street urchin, always finding a way to make himself useful to community members or to engage sympathy from strangers and thus able to earn or beg his daily keep. His life opens up when he assists a Tibetan lama on a pilgrimage and joins him on the road, pretending to be a disciple. He carries a coded message for an itinerant Afghan Pashtun horse trader, which turns out to serve the British secret service in their campaign against insurgents against their colonial rule. He already knows several languages and is a master of disguise and escape, skills which the British develop through mentoring by others in the secret network along his travels. At one point he is sent to a Catholic school for British kids, but he gets away for long holidays and further adventures in the freedom of the road. Kipling was a jingoistic true believer in the rightness of British imperialism. Yet he clearly loved India and its diversity of peoples and respects their cultural differences. But he sees through a romantic lens. Still that lens is a wonderful way to view the world, especially given Kipling’s poetic skills in writing. The alluring fantasy he constructs is that being open with the senses to the world and its people, unbound by creed or family responsibilities, is an ideal state of being in true harmony with the world. The morality of pretense and lies that allows Kim to thrive is no dark cloud because of his playful attitude it seems. All the spy work is not driven by ideology, but by the thrill of being “in the game”. Having a few friends he can be truthful with grounds him, and the spirituality of the lama and his quest for the origins of a sacred river rubs off on him. Yet there is little development in Kim’s character over the several years covered in the book. His perpetual journey is its own end. The sense of the book as a travel tale, exploring the geography and urban settings of India, was part of the book’s charm. It would be great to travel with such a boy who sees the world as his oyster and each day a promise of exciting new adventures. Here is a sample passage that conveys tis flavor: The diamond-bright dawn woke men and cows and bullocks together. Kim sat up and yawned, shook himself and thrilled with delight. This was seeing the world in real truth; this was life as he would have it—bustling and shouting, the buckling of belts, and beating of bullocks and creaking of wheels, lighting of fires and cooking of food, and new sights at every turn of the approving eye. The morning mist swept off a swirl of the silver; the parrots shot away to some distant river in shrieking green hosts; all the well-wheels within earshot were at work. India was awake, and Kim was in the middle of it, more awake and excited than any one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    You know those books that you know from the very first page, you’re going to love it… this wasn’t that. You know those other books that start out slow and it takes you awhile, but soon you find yourself hooked? Nope, this was not one of those either. In fact, I made it through the entire book without every really feeling invested in any way, shape or form. I persevered only because I started it a few months ago and gave it up, then restarted it, convinced I’d get through it. It’s one of Kipling’ You know those books that you know from the very first page, you’re going to love it… this wasn’t that. You know those other books that start out slow and it takes you awhile, but soon you find yourself hooked? Nope, this was not one of those either. In fact, I made it through the entire book without every really feeling invested in any way, shape or form. I persevered only because I started it a few months ago and gave it up, then restarted it, convinced I’d get through it. It’s one of Kipling’s most lauded books and it’s on a million must read lists and there’s got to be something else there. But in the end it just didn’t work for me. A young Irish boy, Kim, is orphaned in India during the 19th century. He becomes a disciple of a Tibetan Lama, Teshoo Lama, and travels with him on his quest. Eventually a British regiment takes him under their wing and enrolls him in an English school. They decide to groom him to become a spy. I loved some of Kipling’s short stories (The Jungle Book, etc.), but this one left me feeling cold. It’s suppose to be a “spy” novel in some way, but instead of having any solid plot it meanders and muses about life. It felt both boring and tiresome and I couldn't help but wonder why we were suppose to care about what happened to Kim. I know I should have more to say about this book, but honestly, I was just glad to be done with it. If anyone loved this book I would be thrilled to hear why.

  8. 5 out of 5

    James

    While it is one of the most beautiful tales of friendship I have ever read, Kim is much more. Rudyard Kipling created in Kim a novel in the mold of the classic heroic journey that has a pedigree reaching back to Gilgamesh and the Odyssey. With Kim, a young white boy, sahib, at it's center and his friend and mentor the Lama, we see the world of India in the nineteenth century as it is ruled by Great Britain. The story unfolds against the backdrop of The Great Game, the political conflict between While it is one of the most beautiful tales of friendship I have ever read, Kim is much more. Rudyard Kipling created in Kim a novel in the mold of the classic heroic journey that has a pedigree reaching back to Gilgamesh and the Odyssey. With Kim, a young white boy, sahib, at it's center and his friend and mentor the Lama, we see the world of India in the nineteenth century as it is ruled by Great Britain. The story unfolds against the backdrop of The Great Game, the political conflict between Russia and Britain in Central Asia. It is set after the Second Afghan War which ended in 1881, but before the Third. The novel is notable for its detailed portrait of the people, culture, and varied religions of India. While Kim is often categorized as a children's novel it has much to offer adult readers not unlike other "children's" books like Huckleberry Finn. Kipling raises questions of identity (Who is Kim?), culture, spirituality and the nature of fate. Most of all he depicts the growth of a young man through his quest to find his destiny and the bond that develops between Kim as 'chela' or disciple and his Lama. The greatness of this novel lies in Kipling's ability to combine all of these themes with a natural style that conveys the richness both of the lives of Kim and his friends and the fecundity of life in India; a vivid picture of India, its teeming populations, religions, and superstitions, and the life of the bazaars and the road. One of the most enduring images for me was the close tie Kim has with the land itself. This is shown several times throughout the novel culminating in his final renewal when he is stretched out on the earth near the end of the novel. The epic quest is successful as this novel unfolds a positive and uplifting narrative.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Single Quote Review: It was all there in Kipling, barring the epilogue of the Indian inheritance. A journey to India was not really necessary. No writer was more honest or accurate; no writer was more revealing of himself and his society. He has left us Anglo-India; to people these relics of the Raj we have only to read him. We find a people conscious of their roles, conscious of their power and separateness, yet at the same time fearful of expressing their delight at their situation: they are Single Quote Review: It was all there in Kipling, barring the epilogue of the Indian inheritance. A journey to India was not really necessary. No writer was more honest or accurate; no writer was more revealing of himself and his society. He has left us Anglo-India; to people these relics of the Raj we have only to read him. We find a people conscious of their roles, conscious of their power and separateness, yet at the same time fearful of expressing their delight at their situation: they are all burdened by responsibilities. The responsibilities are real; but the total effect is that of a people at play. They are all actors; they know what is expected of them; no one will give the game away. ~ V.S. Naipaul, An Area of Darkness

  10. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    Kim is my first adult reading of a Rudyard Kipling book. And I don't know how exactly I feel about this book; I feel a little muddle. I don't attempt to write an analytical review here, for I quite don't know what the story is all about. I'm sure there was a story, but whatever it was, it didn't grab my attention. But somehow I kept going and that is what is incredible. The book is a mixed bag. In a short space the book talks of the diverse cultures, religions, politics, social attitudes under Kim is my first adult reading of a Rudyard Kipling book. And I don't know how exactly I feel about this book; I feel a little muddle. I don't attempt to write an analytical review here, for I quite don't know what the story is all about. I'm sure there was a story, but whatever it was, it didn't grab my attention. But somehow I kept going and that is what is incredible. The book is a mixed bag. In a short space the book talks of the diverse cultures, religions, politics, social attitudes under the imperialism, espionage in the light of the Great Game. These topics were interesting and informative. Amid these multiple themes, Kipling tells the story of Kim or Kimball O'Hara - a white orphaned boy, who was raised in the native Indian culture. What his exact story is, I quite couldn't fathom, but parts of his story, as separate episodes, held my interest. To begin with, I liked the character of Kim. I enjoyed his relationship with the Lama. Kim's love, devotion, and loyalty to the old Lama were admirable. Kim is a clever child, though he led a vagabond life. And I enjoyed his progress and development from a careless child to a responsible youth. That much is quite sure. But my overall feelings about this book are muddled. The story neither bore me nor engaged me, so the dilemma at forming my overall opinion about the book and deciding on a proper rating. Parts of it I did enjoy, but the rest of it was just meh. However, to do justice to the depth of the thoughts of the author, his true portrayal of diverse themes here mentioned, and to my part enjoyment, I've set upon a middle rating. Having said that, I would like to remember Rudyard Kipling as a poet. I did enjoy his Jungle Book as a child. But that was so long ago; I don't know how I will feel about it now. All I can say is that Kipling is a poet to the core and not a novelist. His thoughts are deep and I appreciate them. But he is a poor storyteller. That much I can vouch.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    “We'd go down to the river And into the river we'd dive Oh down to the river we'd ride” That’s Bruce Springsteen, not Rudyard Kipling. All the mentions of The River just reminds me of this song. So Kim is all about the adventures of a young Irish boy, Kimball O'Hara, in British colonial India. Kim starts off as a Tom Sawyer-ish, or Bart Simpson-esq, little scamp. One day he encounters an elderly Tibetan Lama and volunteers to become his disciple in order to go adventuring on the monk’s pilgrimage “We'd go down to the river And into the river we'd dive Oh down to the river we'd ride” That’s Bruce Springsteen, not Rudyard Kipling. All the mentions of The River just reminds me of this song. So Kim is all about the adventures of a young Irish boy, Kimball O'Hara, in British colonial India. Kim starts off as a Tom Sawyer-ish, or Bart Simpson-esq, little scamp. One day he encounters an elderly Tibetan Lama and volunteers to become his disciple in order to go adventuring on the monk’s pilgrimage in his quest for the mystical River of the Arrow. En route he encounters British, Russian and French spies, and decides to become one himself (for the Brits of course); to participate in “the Great Game” (of espionage). Ooh, I dunno about this. I like the colorful characters of Kim, the Lama, and the various spies. I am particularly intrigued by the Lama, is he a true mystic or just an old loony? I really like the cosmic and somewhat ambiguous ending, it’s like, totally Woodstock man! My slight problem with Kim, the book, not the character, is that—as a Boy’s Own adventure—it’s a bit boring really. Sorry. The espionage side of it really falls flat for me. I was not expecting Kim to order martinis, shaken but not stirred, race around in a Ferrari that morphs into a submarine, or have it off with tons of supermodelly girls in formal gowns. No, I did not expect all that, but what I did get was not all that (apologies to my grammar sensei, Cecily, for this appalling sentence). As a spy thriller Kim just did not thrill me, my eyebrows remain disappointingly unelevated throughout. On the other hand, the philosophical side of Kim is very interesting. His crisis of identity and his eventual coming to terms with his duality is thought provoking stuff. I also admire how Kipling portrays the Lama’s pacifist nature and his vague mystical ramblings are interesting and often humorous. His angst at almost wanting to punch someone is adorable. At the end of the day, on the whole, when push comes to shove, to cut a long story short, without beating around the bush, or barking up the wrong tree, or cutting off my nose to spite my face, I kinda like this book. I think. ______________________ Note Librivox Audiobook very nicely read by Adrian Praetzellis. Thank you!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Duffy

    One of the best books I've ever read, and one that I'm sure will stick with me for a long, long time. Not to say it's always an easy book. For one, it's pretty colonial-feeling, what with its fondness for dropping the n-word on anyone browner than an Englishman, its blithe references to sneaky, inconstant "orientals," and so forth - so much so that it's distracting and jarring in a few places. As a 21st century reader, it took me some mental effort to get past that casual matter-of-fact racist l One of the best books I've ever read, and one that I'm sure will stick with me for a long, long time. Not to say it's always an easy book. For one, it's pretty colonial-feeling, what with its fondness for dropping the n-word on anyone browner than an Englishman, its blithe references to sneaky, inconstant "orientals," and so forth - so much so that it's distracting and jarring in a few places. As a 21st century reader, it took me some mental effort to get past that casual matter-of-fact racist language, but much the same as with The Trembling of a Leaf, another colonial-era work that niggers and chinks its way through the Eastern hemisphere, I was richly rewarded for that effort. And as has been pointed out to me in the comments section of this review (and I agree after a rereading and some thought), for as much as the characters constantly mention racial stereotypes, they don't necessarily live up to them, and Kipling leaves every man or woman to be judged on his or her actions. The greatest element of the book, the thing that propels the plot, illuminates the places, brings the other characters to life, and (most importantly) makes you care about any of it, is Kim himself. Kimball O'Hara must be one of most lovable, believable, absorbing characters in all of literature. Kipling's quintessential urchin is streetwise, smartassed, clever, courageous, with chutzpah to spare; yet unmistakably still a kid, capable of boredom, fear, and loneliness. He's also complex: for example, it's established early on in the story that Kim is not above cynically exploiting other people's religions and superstitions in order to secure himself room and board, or escape trouble, yet he frequently allows his own steps to be guided by prophecy and the supernatural. Most importantly, Kim is not static. I think one of the hardest feats for an author is to portray a child's progression to adulthood convincingly, and Kipling does an amazing job of it here. For Kim's presence alone, this book would be well worth the read, but other storytelling treats are here for the taking, as well. For one, it's a fantastic spy thriller, set in the so-called "Great Game" played for control of India in the late 19th century. Deception, disguise, theft, secret agents, overarching plots whose true aims are hidden from those who are carrying them out - it's all here, like a slightly low-tech James Bond story. Kim is also a fascinating depiction of a clash between religions and cultures. Without seeming to make a big deal out of it, Kim is a story of Hindus, Buddhists, Jainists, Sikhs, Muslims, and Christians rubbing shoulders with varying degrees of respect and tolerance. Characters frequently switch languages in mid-conversation, either to facilitate comprehension, underscore particular social or religious meanings, or exclude certain people. Credit here must be given to Kipling for doing a fantastic job at transliterating different accents and dialects. That's usually difficult for an author to pull off convincingly, but here it is flawlessly done. Particularly effective is when Kim and other characters switch from translated Hindi, fluent and full of thees and thous, to transliterated English that comes out like "Oah, I am verr-ee sorr-ee, Sahib," and can't help but be read with the author's intended diction and cadence. Finally, of all the works of fiction I've read, this may be the one that portrays Buddhist ideals with the greatest clarity and beauty, and it is earnest and sensitive in its depiction of Westerners finding enlightenment through Eastern religion. In this regard, I think it even surpasses The Razor's Edge and may be rivaled only by Richard Herley's The Drowning. I think I will feel the urge to reread this book soon, and I encourage you to read it if you haven't done so already. It's a story about friendship, loyalty, courage, and finding redemption, even when that word means different things to different people. It's smart, funny, and touching. A total classic.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    It’s been a long time since I’ve graduated law school, a longer time for college, and a million years (give or take a year) since high school. That means it’s been a long time since I’ve been forced to read a particular book. I’ve always loved to read. And I’ve always hated assigned reading. I’ve despised books I’d otherwise enjoy simply because I’m told to read it on a deadline and feel a particular intellectual response. So, ever since my last diploma, I’ve been reading whatever I want. If you It’s been a long time since I’ve graduated law school, a longer time for college, and a million years (give or take a year) since high school. That means it’s been a long time since I’ve been forced to read a particular book. I’ve always loved to read. And I’ve always hated assigned reading. I’ve despised books I’d otherwise enjoy simply because I’m told to read it on a deadline and feel a particular intellectual response. So, ever since my last diploma, I’ve been reading whatever I want. If you look at my bookshelf, you can tell. The Civil War right here. A growing shelf of World War I over there. My collection on the Plains Indian Wars taking up nearly an entire miniature bookcase from Ikea. There’s nothing wrong with reading what you want. Especially as you get older, you have less time; if you’re going to devote it to reading, you should enjoy the book. At the same time, I’ve always believed in reading as an exercise, and certain books a worthwhile challenge. If you go to the gym every day and do the same routine at the same intensity level, you eventually stop seeing results. It’s the same with reading. That’s where my book club comes in. A group of my guy friends, inspired by our wives, decided to form our own literary society, devoted to drinking beer, eating apps, and talking about the printed word. A side benefit, besides the beer and mini tacos, is that I’ve had to read books I wouldn’t otherwise choose, and thereby use my brain for something other than meditations on the Battle of Gettysburg. This is how – I came to read Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. Kim is one of those books, based almost solely on the title, that I never would have read without a little push. It’s recognized as a classic, but sometimes gets left off the list of all time greats. The titular Kim is Kimball O’Hara, an orphaned Irish boy living in India in the late 1800s. He is a beggar who has become so accustomed to life in Lahore that he is seldom taken for a white boy. He is a puckish, plucky protagonist, with a mischievous sense of adventure that makes him feel like the hero of a Boy’s Own tale. Within the novel’s first few pages, he meets a Tibetan Lama (not a llama, which would have been a marvelous twist) who is looking for the River of the Arrow to free himself from the Wheel of Things. This ridiculous notion appeals to Kim, who immediately offers his services as the Lama’s chela, a follower or disciple. Thus begins their adventure – an episodic road-trip, in which colorful characters are met, and then left behind. Since this is a plot-light novel, to reveal much more would probably give too much. Needless to say, Kim and the Lama become entwined in “the Great Game,” the typically British, typically understated title given to the competition between Britain and Tsarist Russian for control of Central Asia. (Kim came to the attention of my book club due to our discussion of colonialism. In the novel, however, that subject exists only in the background. Kipling never makes any critique, positive or otherwise, about Great Britain’s rule of India. The power structure is simply accepted for what it is, without any mention. This, I suppose, may be a statement in and of itself). Frankly, I was underwhelmed by Kim. It was okay. Part of this reaction has to do with Kim’s appellation as a classic, and all that implies. A book that’s on Modern Library’s Top 100 should do a bit more to grab you by the lapel and insist upon its own worth. The reality, though, is that Kim isn’t world-changing. It is not a terribly challenging read. It lacks the ambition or scope of Melville or Tolstoy, or the psychological excavation of Dostoyevsky, or even the seat-of-your-pants story-spinning of Dickens. It really boils down to a YA novel, where a spirited boy finds a mentor (the Lama), sets out on a journey (to the mythical, sacred river), and generally outwits all the adults he meets. Still, I generally found Kim a pleasant enough read. Kipling lived in India, and it shows in his marvelous descriptions of the bustle, the sights and smells, the colors, the mishmash of peoples and cultures and practices. He clearly has an intimacy with the place, the roads his characters walk. And he has a fondness also, that comes through his protagonist. The lama never raised his eyes. He did not note the money-lender on his goose-rumped pony, hastening along to collect the cruel interest; or the long-shouting, deep-voiced little mob – still in military formation – of native soldiers on leave, rejoicing to be rid of their breeches and puttees, and saying the most outrageous things to the most respectable women in sight. Even the seller of Ganges-water he did not see, and Kim expected that he would at least buy a bottle of that precious stuff. He looked steadily at the ground, and strode as steadily hour after hour, his soul busied elsewhere. But Kim was in the seventh heaven of joy. The Grand Trunk at this point was built on an embankment to guard against winter floods from the foothills, so that one walked, as it were a little above the country, along a stately corridor, seeing all India spread out left and right. It was beautiful to behold the many-yoked grain and cotton wagons crawling over the country roads: one could hear their axles, complaining a mile away, coming nearer, till with shouts and yells and bad words they climbed up the steep incline…It was equally beautiful to watch the people, little clumps of red and blue and pink and white and saffron, turning aside to go to their own villages, dispersing and growing small by twos and threes across the level plain. Kim felt these things, though he could not give tongue to his feelings, and so contented himself with buying peeled sugarcane and spitting the pith generously about his path. Another pleasure, related to the first, is Kipling’s exploration of the many different religions bumping against each other in India. The novel is driven by faith and spirituality, and Kipling shows a genuine interest in these, as well as a certain open-heartedness to all beliefs, as expressed in this speech from Mahbub Ali, a Pashtun horse trader and erstwhile British spy: “Thou art beyond question an unbeliever, and therefore thou wilt be damned. So says my Law – or I think it does. But thou art also my Little Friend of all the World, and I love thee. So says my heart. This matter of creeds is like horseflesh. The wise man knows horses are good – that there is profit to be made from all; and for myself – but that I am a good Sunni and hate the men of Tirah – I could believe the same of all the Faiths. Now manifestly a Kattiawar mare taken from the sands of her birthplace and removed to the west of Bengal founders – nor is even a Balkh stallion… of any account in the great Northern deserts beside the snow-camels I have seen. Therefore I say in my heart the Faiths are like horses. Each has merit in its own country. It’s fair to say that my main reaction is to have no strong reaction at all. As I noted above, Kim is not hard to read, with the exception of the dialogue. The dialogue is swollen by colloquialisms and local idioms, filled with obscure allusions and references (that can only be deciphered by the endnotes), and studded with enough “thees” and “thous” to sink the Mayflower. The one difficulty in Kim is figuring out what people are saying in this heavily stylized manner of speaking. Unfortunately, most of the exposition takes place in dialogue, so understanding is critical. The real downer of Kim is its ending. The road-trip of Kim and the Lama builds to a climax and then fizzles out like a cheap sparkler. The ending is abrupt and disappointing, which would’ve meant more to me had I had more invested in the first place.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    ETA: Ooops, I misspelled lama, using instead the spelling for the fuzzy animal sort, which IS spelled llama! ;0) Thanks Kim for telling me! You CAN listen to a Librivox audiobook in the car. I have now discovered that you should click on the download buttons found next to each chapter visible in the Librivox app. You must click on all of them. If you don't click on each chapter's download button, you need wifi to listen when using the app. In the car you also must use an AUX jack. Leslie and Greg ETA: Ooops, I misspelled lama, using instead the spelling for the fuzzy animal sort, which IS spelled llama! ;0) Thanks Kim for telling me! You CAN listen to a Librivox audiobook in the car. I have now discovered that you should click on the download buttons found next to each chapter visible in the Librivox app. You must click on all of them. If you don't click on each chapter's download button, you need wifi to listen when using the app. In the car you also must use an AUX jack. Leslie and Greg explained this to me. Thank you, both of you! Now the review: ************************************** I didn't hate the book, but I definitely wanted it to end as soon as possible..... I liked one thing and that was how I felt the atmosphere of India, or how I imagine it might have been. The clatter, the exotic Eastern foods and smells, the feel of the air, the light. Musky sometimes. Clear and sharp, dazzling and sparkling at other times. Indians are composed of so many different castes and subgroups with varying beliefs, traditions, customs and religious affiliations. This book draws this well. I enjoyed the adjectives chosen, the descriptive metaphors for the mountains and hills, for all the different landscapes. The book is partially a travelogue, and this is what I enjoyed most. However, I cannot say I now have an understanding of the cultural differences and traditions that divide Pashtun from Sikh or Sufi. Although the book describes different culture groups, it doesn’t give much depth. There is humor, it you care to see it. The Himalayas are referred to as the "hills"..... Primarily, this is an adventure story and about the fond relationship between, Kim, a twelve year old orphan at the book's beginning, and a lama. Kim is a half-caste; his mother had been Indian and his father Irish. He is a scamp, managing well in both worlds, the British world of power and spies and intrigue and the subservient but not self-deprecating Indian nationals. I am not sure of the date. I am guessing the end of 1800s because Russians were active along the northern border. The plot consists of a thread of adventure escapades. Kim grows into adulthood, and the lama, he seeks understanding and wisdom. We don't stop maturing at a set age! The plot is a thread of stories, drawing a path toward wisdom, understanding and maturity. I was neither drawn into the tales of adventure nor the path toward spiritual growth. Neither am I a fan of Rudyard Kipling's writing style. It is old-fashioned, wordy and ambiguous. The native Indians spoke imperfect English, but this made them just look silly. Adjectives were used when adverbs should have been chosen. I listened to this on my Ipod from a Librivox recording narrated by Adrian Praetzellis. Getting this to function properly took umpteen hours!!! Installing a Librivox app was absolutely necessary, and even then it didn’t function well. I could NOT listen in the car and Ipod's "Voice-Over" function did not work. I was not fond of the narrator, and he is one of the best at Librivox. What I hated most was that he made the lama sound like a moron. He spoke one word pause and one word pause.... this made him sound, well, stupid. A lama is wise, but not here! He read Kim’s part well. He spoke clearly and at a good speed. Others like a narrator to dramatize the lines. I don't, and he did here. I am glad I tried Librivox, but boy do I appreciate Audible even more after this experience. Nevertheless I still want to thank the numerous GR friends who have helped me test Librivox.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Daniela

    Kim is Kipling's love letter to India. Written just as he was leaving, Kim unveils all the wonders of the Subcontinent, the colours, the smells, the people, the languages, the different religions. A more colourful Babylon. It's not entirely kosher, of course. Much has been written on Kipling's racism, and no doubt there are racist elements in this book. Still, I don't believe it diminishes the quality of the writing, or the obvious love Kipling had for India. As for the story, Kim can be seen as Kim is Kipling's love letter to India. Written just as he was leaving, Kim unveils all the wonders of the Subcontinent, the colours, the smells, the people, the languages, the different religions. A more colourful Babylon. It's not entirely kosher, of course. Much has been written on Kipling's racism, and no doubt there are racist elements in this book. Still, I don't believe it diminishes the quality of the writing, or the obvious love Kipling had for India. As for the story, Kim can be seen as a Mowgli who grew up in the city. Child of poor white parents, an orphan raised in the streets of Lahore, smart as a whip, and with as much gall and cheekiness as Gavroche, he's an impossible-not-to-love character. His relationship with the buddhist lama is moving, and clearly sets the model for the odd companions trope. There's nothing to dislike about this novel. The language can be hard, but rewarding. There's real humour in some parts, adventure and emotion. It's everything you d'want to read, everything a writer could aspire to write.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Even though I share the name of the hero of this novel, I've chosen not to read it until now. There's more than one reason for this. The main reason is that I'm not naturally drawn to picaresque novels or to espionage novels, even though I've read my fair share of books from both genres. I've also had an instinctively negative reaction to Kipling because of my not terribly well-informed view of him as an apologist for British imperialism. However, in the last few days I've started reading the se Even though I share the name of the hero of this novel, I've chosen not to read it until now. There's more than one reason for this. The main reason is that I'm not naturally drawn to picaresque novels or to espionage novels, even though I've read my fair share of books from both genres. I've also had an instinctively negative reaction to Kipling because of my not terribly well-informed view of him as an apologist for British imperialism. However, in the last few days I've started reading the seventh book in Laurie R King's Mary Russell series, The Game, which features an older Kim, some thirty years after the events of this novel. While King's homage to Kipling's work made me download the audiobook narrated by Sam Dastor, it was Kipling's skill as a writer and storyteller which kept me totally engaged with the narrative. Kim is the story of Kimball O'Hara, the orphaned son of an Irish soldier and a poor Irish woman, who lives by his wits on the streets of Lahore, becomes the disciple of a Tibetan Lama looking for the river which will bring him enlightenment, falls into the hands of the British military, acquires an education, is trained as a spy and plays a part in the Great Game - the battle for supremacy between the British and Russian Empires in Central Asia. Kim is a book which I could easily have disliked. The boy's own adventure elements, the lack of significant female characters, the refences to "Orientals" and "Asiatics" could all have irritated me and/or upset my politically correct sensibilities. It is true that I found the espionage plot rather less interesting than the rest of the plot. However, my lasting impression of the novel will not be those things. Rather, it will be the picture which Kipling paints of India under British rule in the late 19th century. Kipling deals with India in all of its bewildering diversity: the various religious communities, the cities and the rural areas, the plains and the mountains, the influence of the British on India and of India on the British. The other aspect of Kim which will remain with me is Kipling's treatment of the theme of identity. Kim has to find where he belongs in a land where social standing is determined by family, by caste and by religion. His questioning of his identity at various points in the novel is immensely moving. What I'll also take from Kim is the love for India and its people which Kipling clearly brought to the writing of the novel. Sam Dastor's narration is amazing. He has a distinct voice for each character. Indeed, he subtly (and in relation to one character not so subtly) alters voices depending on whether the character is speaking English or Hindi or Urdu. I am persuaded that listening to the novel rather than reading it significantly increased by appreciation of the work. Listening to Kim has been a very enjoyable experience, up there in 4-1/2 star territory.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I read this book in memory of my Dad and my Grandad who loved Rudyard Kipling's way with words. I chose this edition narrated by Sam Dastor as I love the way he uses his voice to bring the story to life. There was much to love from the exploration of the culture of India, the characters, particularly the free spirited Kim and his deep and abiding friendship with the Lama.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    Maybe 3.5. I found this a very interesting read, dealing with a really fascinating moment in history and with a lot of great themes. I did find it a little hard to follow in places, but overall it was an enjoyable and interesting novel.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    Kipling knows a lot about India - but all that knowledge seems to be surface level only. The lama in the book for example shows outward ways of a lama but never any substantial knowledge of his own religion. Kim's character is probably very powerful statement against racism. The very fist sentence of the book showing him to be speaking Indian language, having skin shade of Indians and even religious faith of Indians; and yet claiming he is a white Irish points out absurdity of his race. You might Kipling knows a lot about India - but all that knowledge seems to be surface level only. The lama in the book for example shows outward ways of a lama but never any substantial knowledge of his own religion. Kim's character is probably very powerful statement against racism. The very fist sentence of the book showing him to be speaking Indian language, having skin shade of Indians and even religious faith of Indians; and yet claiming he is a white Irish points out absurdity of his race. You might claim Kipling is in fact claiming that race as defined by his parents is stronger than the impact of culture but anyway Kim constantly shows preferance for native ways. Indian or more correctly South Asian characters are sterotypical but you could excuse it on grounds that it is a children's book and it is done to invoke humor. Kipling is really showing Indians as very good book. It is I guess the racism embedded within language of his time which he can't avoid and which irks me - for example when he says Indians squat in a way no one in 'civilised' world. This repeative calling the west 'civilised' as compared to orient is unforgeable. And since the narrator is Kipling himself rather than a character in book, you can't just pretend he did it show racism of others.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Adithi Rao

    In this book, Rudyard Kipling talks about a devoted and heart-warming friendship shared between a Buddhist monk and a shrewd, intelligent yet loyal little lad in the backdrop of the British Raaj. The friendship seems strange and peculiar at the start but takes an emotional and sincere form between the master and his chela. Kipling is detailed in his account of a colourful, diverse and complicated India and Indian culture, albeit, views them through a colonist's lense and does not hesitate in expr In this book, Rudyard Kipling talks about a devoted and heart-warming friendship shared between a Buddhist monk and a shrewd, intelligent yet loyal little lad in the backdrop of the British Raaj. The friendship seems strange and peculiar at the start but takes an emotional and sincere form between the master and his chela. Kipling is detailed in his account of a colourful, diverse and complicated India and Indian culture, albeit, views them through a colonist's lense and does not hesitate in expressing views racial, condescending and arrogant. What is not understood is bitterly ridiculed. Yet, he manages to capture interest through his account of the education and training of young Kim who, later on, is a part of a larger scheme of events such as The Great Game. And on reading a book of a bygone era, it still fills my heart with mystery and excitement about my country. All in all, Kipling manages to write a story that could be long and dragged-on during some parts but excites and entertains towards the end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jim Coughenour

    Not for the first time – I was lucky enough to overstep (almost by accident) some stray prejudice and discover how wrong I was. For most of my life Kipling has been the onerous author of "If" – a poem I was forced to recite as a boy and which still makes me shudder. Of course I've known of his other books, including Kim, which I regarded as surviving in a dubious space somewhere between Disney and Edward Said's condemned Orientalists. It was only after making my way through Peter Hopkirk's The G Not for the first time – I was lucky enough to overstep (almost by accident) some stray prejudice and discover how wrong I was. For most of my life Kipling has been the onerous author of "If" – a poem I was forced to recite as a boy and which still makes me shudder. Of course I've known of his other books, including Kim, which I regarded as surviving in a dubious space somewhere between Disney and Edward Said's condemned Orientalists. It was only after making my way through Peter Hopkirk's The Great Game that I was tempted to find a copy of Kim and read it. Hopkirk, in fact, has written a companion to Kim, a bonus to fans of his earlier works. But as he saysthere is absolutely no substitute for reading Kim itself. For not only is it a deeply enjoyable book, but also a profoundly uplifting one, especially for anyone whose spirits are at low ebb. It emits an intense luminescence, like that spilling out of a landscape by Turner. A friend of mine suffering from a nasty bout of depression swore that reading Kim totally cured him. Indeed, some scholars believe that Kipling, who suffered badly from melancholia, wrote Kim to cure his own depression.What a friendly sentiment, I thought when I read these words, what enthusiastic exaggeration. No, it's not. Kim – for me anyway – is pure charm. I opened it thinking I'd just enjoy echoes of Hopkirk's history, but quickly found myself surrendering to the joy of the story. It's one of the best pre-auto "road trip" novels ever written. Kipling's characters are as various and winning as any in Dickens. His India is variegated enchantment, at once comic and humming with an ancient dignity that makes the Sahibs superficial. Yes, I know that Kipling is the infamous author of "The White Man's Burden." But to dismiss Kipling's obvious love for India – its landscapes, peoples and cultures – as a bunch of Imperialist hooey strikes me as a kind of willful bitterness. Few, very few, people have written a story as perfect as this – a story that allows you to feel 14 and 54 at the same time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    As I said of another classic adventure story of The Great Game, the East is a fantasy. This is not only true for writers like Mundy, who experienced it as an outsider, or Howard, who experienced it only through books--it's also true for those who, like Kipling, were born and raised there. Indeed, many of our most cherished fantasies tend to relate to the place we were born--when we find ourselves defending it, or singing its praises. It's not that the details we give aren't true, it's that we hav As I said of another classic adventure story of The Great Game, the East is a fantasy. This is not only true for writers like Mundy, who experienced it as an outsider, or Howard, who experienced it only through books--it's also true for those who, like Kipling, were born and raised there. Indeed, many of our most cherished fantasies tend to relate to the place we were born--when we find ourselves defending it, or singing its praises. It's not that the details we give aren't true, it's that we have a sort of rosy-quartz view about the place that made us. It also comes out in what we dislike about our home, what tired and frustrated us--there is a whole mythology within us of what exactly we believe our provenance to be like, and it is more the truth of us than the truth of that place. Kipling's Kim is often considered his greatest work, and as Said's introduction notes, it is one of his only works that profits from close reading. His others are certainly enjoyable, and have certain themes, but tend to wear these on the chest, while Kim presents a rather more complex relationship. Of course, there was an uproar when it was announced that the Penguin edition would feature an introduction from Said, but as someone who has actually read his work, I was not concerned he would do Kipling wrong. Indeed, his treatment is even-handed, noting both the strengths and flaws of the text, and bringing together many interesting observations from other sources. It is a boys' club book, about the doings of men in their 'Great Game' of death and deceit. Of women there are two: a whore and a mother figure, and neither one strays beyond the bounds of her given role. Indeed, this book was one of the inspirations for the creation of the Boy Scouts, after the romantic adventure of Kipling's young fellow. It's also certainly a tale of privilege, as of course, that is the role Kipling himself was born into: of being free from social constraints, on the top of the heap, able to go where and when he liked, and in whatever guise, for there was none to gainsay him. But beyond these bounds, it is certainly a wondrous and vivid tale, full of color and character, all those little details and curious turns of phrase that make a good adventure. Indeed, there is much more of the fantastical in this than in many adventure books--magic and mysticism have central roles, as do cultural dissonance, even if Kipling ultimately ignores the great and central conflict which first showed itself in the Sepoy Uprising, and grew to eventual fruition in Gandhi and at last, independence. Rarely have I seen the Other and the defamiliarization of ideas portrayed so wholly, particularly in a colonial work--and if Kipling had used these strengths to tackle the great central conflict that looms over all, the work would have been truly profound. The relationship between Kim and the Lama is the crux here, the deep and genuine friendship between stereotypically Eastern and Western figures, which crosses boundaries of faith, philosophy, race, and language, seeking ever for mutual ground and further understanding. Yet that the old man is a fool, and that Kim ultimately tricks him, secretly committing himself to the colonial role while paying outward respect is unfortunate. There is a conflict between the two, but it is never allowed to come to the surface, it is never confronted and dealt with. Instead, the hope seems to be that if two disparate people can agree on the surface, that the fundamental contention between them is not worth exploring--when indeed, its usually the only thing that is, especially for a novelist, whose work is to drive to the heart of the matter. But then, as Said points out, it was a conflict that Kipling did not see, or did not want to see, and in the end, it weakens the tale. Kim is not really answerable to the people he claims to serve, and as he tries to work for them in secret, he really serves himself. The condescension of 'knowing better' and with that excuse, keeping others in the dark is perhaps The Great Sin of governance. But for that, it is an exciting tale, a thorough and palpable exploration of India and its people, as Kipling saw them, and brings to mind many important questions of the colonial role, Indiamania vs. Indiaphobia, and what it means to find yourself between cultures. If only Kipling had delved a bit more.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Kim, or Kimball O’ Hara, is a British boy who has grown up on the streets of Lahore at the height of British rule in India. He lives like a native Indian, speaks Hindi fluently and knows the city like the back of his hand. Immensely street-wise, he makes a living by carrying messages for all kinds of people including an Afghan horse-dealer called Mahbub Ali who is himself involved in espionage on behalf of the British government. Kim’s ability to be part of more than one community makes him a pe Kim, or Kimball O’ Hara, is a British boy who has grown up on the streets of Lahore at the height of British rule in India. He lives like a native Indian, speaks Hindi fluently and knows the city like the back of his hand. Immensely street-wise, he makes a living by carrying messages for all kinds of people including an Afghan horse-dealer called Mahbub Ali who is himself involved in espionage on behalf of the British government. Kim’s ability to be part of more than one community makes him a perfect choice for an agent and he is drawn into the ‘Great Game’, as it is known by its exponents, while at the same time he becomes the disciple of a Tibetan lama who is seeking enlightenment. Kipling has been accused of being racist and it is clear that he believes implicitly that British rule is a good thing for India since ‘Orientals’ are intrinsically less rational and therefore less able to govern themselves. However, the picture is not quite that simple. He is obviously besotted with India and has nothing but scorn for British and other Europeans who fail to understand the depth and beauty of the culture. In this novel he paints a picture of a continent in which British and Indian elements have mingled to create a complex web of overlapping identities. It’s a fascinating book, brimming-over with colour, permeated by a gentle humour and offering a fascinating perspective on Imperial India. Yes, Kipling is patronising; yes he is an apologist for imperialism; yes he believes in the superiority of the white man; but he is also respectful of what he recognises to be an ancient civilisation with much to teach his own; and a very real sense of delight in that civilisation runs through every word of this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce

    My thoughts are that this was not (to me), a very interesting book. It lacked, for lack of a better word an important emotional piece and that would be the absence of a female protagonist. While I did admire the friendship and love/admiration piece that Kim and the llama shared between them, I did find the actual story to be dull and uninteresting. Sorry to say after having read a number of books on India, this particular novel fell short for me on the impact it had on my reading and understandi My thoughts are that this was not (to me), a very interesting book. It lacked, for lack of a better word an important emotional piece and that would be the absence of a female protagonist. While I did admire the friendship and love/admiration piece that Kim and the llama shared between them, I did find the actual story to be dull and uninteresting. Sorry to say after having read a number of books on India, this particular novel fell short for me on the impact it had on my reading and understanding of the Indian culture of Victorian times. I can certainly understand that in Victorian England this would have been both a departure and a very mysterious type novel since things Indian were considered to be strange and oftentimes unnerving. I believe this novel has lost a lot and that time has not been kind to its telling. I will, in all honesty, give Mr Kipling another try as he is considered by many to have been a prominent writer. However, I would not recommend this novel as one where I felt his skills as a story teller were stellar at all.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jason Pettus

    This is my second time reading this 1901 novel by Rudyard Kipling, widely considered his masterpiece; and it's one I've wanted to take on again for a long time, because the first time I was distinctly behind on a deadline for a write-up I owed on it, and so had to rush through the second half of it in a blaze, and thus didn't have much of a chance to enjoy or even understand it in the way that a dense Victorian novel like this deserves. This time, however, I read it at the leisurely pace of only This is my second time reading this 1901 novel by Rudyard Kipling, widely considered his masterpiece; and it's one I've wanted to take on again for a long time, because the first time I was distinctly behind on a deadline for a write-up I owed on it, and so had to rush through the second half of it in a blaze, and thus didn't have much of a chance to enjoy or even understand it in the way that a dense Victorian novel like this deserves. This time, however, I read it at the leisurely pace of only a thousand words per day for six months, through the free "literary serialization through email" service DailyLit.com. So that's what finally allowed me to have the deep respect for it that I now do, an admiration bordering on awe at just how complex and morally gray a story Kipling turned in here. That's ironic, of course, because Kipling is almost exclusively known now as "that racist who wrote 'White Man's Burden'" -- which, to be clear, is unambiguously racist, a tossed-off poem originally written for the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria assuming the throne, in which he passionately argues for America to colonize the Philippines because it's the duty of smart, civilized white people to tame and educate the savage coloreds who will otherwise destroy themselves unless the noble whites step in. That makes it all the more fascinating, then, to learn that Kipling was actually born and raised in India, went back and spent most of his twenties there, and for the rest of his life held complicated, nuanced beliefs about the interplay between Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, and colonial Christianity that melted together and sometimes violently clashed during the Raj era of that land. That's essentially what Kim is about, a sprawling epic spy thriller and religious examination that's extremely cleverly told through the viewpoint of one Kimball "Kim" O'Hara -- bastard child of an Irish soldier and Raj nanny who grows up as a wily Dickens-like orphan on the streets of Lahore (now in modern Pakistan), and who knows so little about his background that he just assumes that he's Indian like all his little thieving friends. One day while running his usual scams, he has a chance to befriend a Tibetan lama, who has made his way down from the Himalayan Mountains to go on a spiritual quest that will eventually take him to the eastern city of Varanasi; and struck by something powerful that he can't put into words, Kim decides on a whim to become the lama's assistant, and essentially guides him and keeps him safe while they slowly make their way across almost the entire width of the subcontinent. There's way more to the story than this -- it turns out that the crafty, multilingual, costume-changing Kim has also been in the unwitting employ of an Afghan spy during his childhood, who works with the British in their "Great Game" against Russia (which you can think of as the British Victorian version of America's "Cold War," in which neither country ever had open battles but rather a series of clandestine intelligence-gathering dirty-tricks operations in the poor proxy countries geographically stuck between them). When this spy network finally figures out Kim's Irish heritage, then, they end up sending him to a British school during the fall and spring for a formal education, then during the summers to a series of mystical spymasters out in the rural hinterlands, where he learns such tricks as disguising himself, how to eavesdrop on conversations, and how to detect items in the dark merely from touch alone (an activity now known as "Kim's Game" and still played by many for fun). This essentially turns Kim into James Bond by the time he's eighteen, and that's basically what the last third of the novel is about, his first adult adventures as a fully trained member of this Great Game spy network. But what's remarkable here, and what you wouldn't guess you'd see from a Kipling novel, is that Kim remains ambivalent at best about the British Empire and white people in general, still seeing himself even as an adult as a native Indian who has little patience for these nerdy, uptight, pale little oppressors and their nerdy, uptight little spy games they all play against each other. Instead, Kim's focus and admiration the entire time remains on spiritual enlightenment, behaving correctly towards society's lumpen proletarians (the class of downtrodden maids and cooks who used to surreptitiously feed him as a homeless child), and especially continuing to keep a close eye on his comically absurdist Tibetan lama friend, an intimate and symbiotic relationship that lasts from literally the first to the last chapter of this 400-page stunner. For a guy who's now saddled in the 21st century with such a clumsy, oafish reputation ("White people good! Everybody else bad!"), it's shocking to read Kim and see just how sophisticated his knowledge actually was about the daily ins-and-outs of Indian life, both religious and secular, and how unsparing he is with his criticism about both the British and Russian colonizers who are basically using the country as a chessboard for their stupid little spy games. It's like a John le Carre novel mixed with Indiana Jones, with a heavy dose of Thich Nhat Hanh thrown in to boot, and it made my head swim by the end with realizing just how much Kipling was able to pull off here in this mesmerizing, powerful story. It doesn't excuse his more racist beliefs -- and, again, to be as clear as I possibly can, I agree that Rudyard Kipling had many racist moments in his life -- but it certainly makes him a much more complicated, much more interesting artist than the dismissive "worthless out-of-touch white dude" label he's picked up in the 21st century, slapped on him I suspect in an attempt to give us blanket permission to just ignore him and his work altogether. That's a shame, because there's something really astounding to be seen here, even among the most Woke of all of you, and I can pretty confidently state at this point that Kim is now one of my favorite novels of all time, out of the (sheesh) 2,196 of them Goodreads is telling me I've now read over the course of my life. It comes recommended in this spirit -- a book to take a chance on, when you're in the mood to take on something weighty and very 1800s, instead of picking up Jane Eyre yet again for the tenth time. You might be very surprised by your reaction; I know I was.

  26. 5 out of 5

    George

    BEWILDERING AND CONFUSING. It seemed like high time to read one of the ‘classics.’ And, it seemed that Rudyard Kipling’s adventure tale, Kim would fill that bill. I already had a copy of the ebook. Not a good choice, I’m afraid. Although it probably speaks more to my capacities than to the quality of the narrative, I haven’t a clue what this tale was all about. If you’ve read Kim, and understood what you read, you’re a better man than I am Gunga Din. I salute you. Recommendation: As for me, I do no BEWILDERING AND CONFUSING. It seemed like high time to read one of the ‘classics.’ And, it seemed that Rudyard Kipling’s adventure tale, Kim would fill that bill. I already had a copy of the ebook. Not a good choice, I’m afraid. Although it probably speaks more to my capacities than to the quality of the narrative, I haven’t a clue what this tale was all about. If you’ve read Kim, and understood what you read, you’re a better man than I am Gunga Din. I salute you. Recommendation: As for me, I do not recommend that you read this tale. Open Road Media. Kindle Edition. 203 pages.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katie Hanna

    THAT. WAS. FLIPPING. AWESOME. Rtc. Hopefully.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I read Rudyard Kipling's Kim after reading Laurie King's The Game, a Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell mystery in which an adult Kim plays a major role. In Kipling's Kim, Kim is a savvy Irish child who was born in India; raised by a half-caste, opium-smoking woman after his parents died; and ran wild and curious in the subsequent years. At 13, he met up with his father's regiment, became a disciple to a lama, and joined the spy trade. I could read this story in several ways: as a light-hearted advent I read Rudyard Kipling's Kim after reading Laurie King's The Game, a Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell mystery in which an adult Kim plays a major role. In Kipling's Kim, Kim is a savvy Irish child who was born in India; raised by a half-caste, opium-smoking woman after his parents died; and ran wild and curious in the subsequent years. At 13, he met up with his father's regiment, became a disciple to a lama, and joined the spy trade. I could read this story in several ways: as a light-hearted adventure, a coming of age story, a spiritual journey, or an analysis of colonial England's interactions with India. The most compelling tellings for me are as a coming of age story or a spiritual journey. Kim feels like a story out of The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, for example, where the bright but untutored naïf makes the most of a series of chance interactions and saves his world. In this read of Kim, the lama and Yoda are almost interchangeable, with both serving as wise spiritual mentors. ‘Chela [disciple], know this. There are many lies in the world, and not a few liars, but there are no liars like our bodies, except it be the sensations of our bodies.’ .... With a laugh across his tears, Kim kissed the lama’s feet, and went about the tea-making. “Thou leanest on me in the body, Holy One, but I lean on thee for some other things. Dost know it?” “I have guessed maybe,” and the lama’s eyes twinkled. “We must change that.”Some readers of Kim focus on the colonialism that is background to the story, but to my read many of the British are minor characters and often buffoons. Although Kim is born to Irish parents and occasionally passes as a Sahib, he is Indian at heart rather than even bicultural. Kim does not value or promote rigidly following the rules, nor does a stiff upper lip find much play here; instead, this is a book that is home to curiosity, excitement, and passion and, to some degree, controlling that passion. Kim's was a life lived in the present moment. The reader, at least this reader, had as much fun reading Kim as Kim appeared to have in the regular course of his day. His passion fed my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    J.Aleksandr Wootton

    What I remember appreciating most about Kim was Kipling's use of humor to underscore his characters' awareness of themselves, of their suffering, and of the imbalance, unease, and ambivalence of their social and political environs. I remember almost nothing about the plot. I should probably read it again.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daren

    This was as strange book for me. I had looked forward to reading it (perhaps too much) due to its popularity amongst people who are friends and those whose reviews I follow. My enjoyment of the book changed a number of times throughout my reading of it - which took me a bit longer than normal, as I fitted another book or two in between - at those times I wasn't loving it. Ultimately I enjoyed it a lot. A couple of times on the way I just found myself confused about what was going on, but not motiv This was as strange book for me. I had looked forward to reading it (perhaps too much) due to its popularity amongst people who are friends and those whose reviews I follow. My enjoyment of the book changed a number of times throughout my reading of it - which took me a bit longer than normal, as I fitted another book or two in between - at those times I wasn't loving it. Ultimately I enjoyed it a lot. A couple of times on the way I just found myself confused about what was going on, but not motivated enough to go back and reread sections, so I just battled through. Part of that was the archaic language that crept in in places, part of it was probably just the storyline. Yes, there was the dated racism in the writing, but 1901 is not the political correct minefield we tread now. No plot outline required - there are plenty of others there, done better that I would, and the book summary does a pretty good job anyway. I did enjoy the characters, although I admit to (still) not really understanding a lot about them from the descriptions given, and the machinations of the Great Game were excellent, but for me, there were not enough of them... was it written with further stories in mind? (OK if someone tells me there are more stories I am going to edit that so as to not look foolish). Four stars from me.

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