Book Reviews

Kim (Dover Thrift Editions) by Rudyard Kipling

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Kindle Edition: 138 Pages.

Published: 22 March 2012 by Dover Publications

ISBN:

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Nobel Prize-winning author Rudyard Kipling set his final and most famous novel in the complex, mystery-shrouded India of the mid-nineteenth century where an exotic landscape teems with natives living under British colonial rule.
Kim, the poor orphaned son of an Irish soldier stationed in Lahore, straddles both worlds. Neither wholly British nor completely Indian, the young boy searches for his identity in the country where he was born; but at the same time, he struggles to create an identity for himself. Cunning and street wise, Kim is mature beyond his thirteen years and learns to move chameleon-like between the two cultures, becoming the disciple of a Tibetan monk while training as a spy for the British secret service.
Far above the average adventure story, Kim will captivate Kipling devotees as well as fans of tales brimming with foreign intrigue and treachery.

Reviews

5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Anne

An absolute delight

The story is that of a child born to English parents in India who is orphaned and more or less brings himself up in the slums of Lahore. A chance meeting with a Holy Man from Tibet causes Kim to join him as his disciple (chela) and to travel with him across India to find the River of the Arrow which will cause anyone who bathes in it to be freed forever from the cycle of reincarnation. In the course of his travels Kim becomes involved in “The Great Game” – the intelligence and spying activity of the occupying British mainly against the Russians and Germans.

The book raises lots of contemporary issues which could cause some people problems – British Imperialism and a sense of superiority being the main one. I did once hear an Asian woman discussing this book on the radio and she didn’t have any issues with it which made me feel better when I heard it. I think that the book transcends this potential problem because of Kipling’s overwhelmingly obvious love of the country and its various people. He depicts people of all ages and backgrounds and reserves most of his criticism for the British. He pokes gentle fun at people but not at their beliefs and the character of the lama and his affection for Kim is incredibly tender.

I read this book for the pictures which Kipling creates in my head of the vibrant, colourful and diverse India that he loved. The journey of the two friends is enhanced by the people that they meet, as Kim goes about begging for his master and they both seek the elusive river. It is also impossible not to like Kim, a worldly wise, clever, cunning young man who finds his identity during the book.

I just love this book – it bears frequent rereading and it always has more to give.

 
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