Saturday, March 21, 2020

219. Kim

Kim
Rudyard Kipling
1900
Around 300 pages




















I have read "The White Man's Burden" in class and really had no desire to revisit this author again. Of course, the List had other ideas and I have pledged my devotion to it, for better or for worse. This is leaning in the "for better" category, so maybe we can upgrade Kipling from horrible bigot to well-meaning moron.

Kim is the orphaned son of Irish parents living a vagabond existence in India. He befriends a Tibetan lama who is on a quest to achieve nirvana. Kim is sent to an English school, but he doesn't forget his friendship with the lama. And then he becomes a spy. It makes sense when you read it anyway.

So this is a decent story, but it is certainly not the best depiction of childhood I have read. Now, I know childhood is a privilege that Kim arguably did not possess, but I still feel like authors such as Dickens and Martel do a better job of capturing the unique voice of a child. Kipling always sounds like Kipling.

But the setting of the story is so interesting that the novel works regardless.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Referenced in The English Patient.

Listed as UK's best loved novel in BBC's The Big Read poll.

UP NEXT: Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann. I am going to wait and see how this apocalypse thing shakes out first. Hopefully, it will get me out of reading this.

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