Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Review: Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Title:Kim
Author: Rudyard Kipling
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pages: 289
Price: Rs 99
ISBN:0195671643
Genre: Classic/ fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source:Personal



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Summary:
Born in India and growing into early manhood, Kim wants to play the "great game" of imperialism. He is also spiritually bound to the lama, an old ascetic priest. As the two men become fired by a quest that takes them across the country, Kim tries to reconcile these opposing impulses. A celebration of their friendship in an often hostile environment, Kim captures at once the opulence of India's exotic landscape and the uneasy presence of the British Raj.

Review:
The east and west beautifully blends in Kipling's novel Kim..The novel opens up with Kim an Irish decent orphaned boy in his early teens in the street of Lahore brought up by opium keeper contemplating...He is famously known as Friend of all world..He happens to meet  Tibetian Lama who has come in search of a mystic river supposedly source of enlightening. Kim joins him as his chela or servant he also carries a confidential file to Colonel Creighton to a place called Umballa..After handing over the file Kim overhears about a  possible war,pretending to be a prophet he predicts an upcoming war.By his pleasing manners and charm he makes good connections who in turn help them both by means of shelter and food. Every problem Kim tackles with  his wit and humor solving  issues and making friends at the end of it..Be it the farmer or the widow who he meets later in the journey..
They set on the grand trunk road. during this travel he is enthralled by various people from different culture and places and is completely spell bound by their acquaintance..By further turn of events Kim is detained much to the dismay of Kim in the Irish regiment where his father served as a color sergeant  while Lama set on the journey on his own upon his quest of mystic river...Kim receives a letter from the Lama informing him that he would be sponsored for his education at the St.Xavier, a catholic school meant for white..Kim is very unhappy about it and he wishes to get back to Mahbub Ali but when Ali too seconds  Lama's offer he has no option but to join the school..Kim finds no energy at the school but eagerly awaits his summer vacation, choosing to assist Ali who is a spy..Kim soon proves to be an asset to this kind of job with his way to get to anything around him..He is taken under the wings of Lurgan sahin , and he also continues his education at the school, but he finds much deeper connection to this kind of job..Once disguised as a monk he is struck by his first identity crisis of who he really is!!Will he get over it?? Would he ever get another chance to meet The Lama?? What would happen to Kim read on to find out...

The novel is an action packed feat that doesn't sprints its way but moves slowly and steadily..Kim's encounters with the Babu and everyone he comes across is a real treat to read on...I expected more skeptic tone on India and the people, but it seemed like Kipling really loved India and its culture which made it good to read  , though it had the racist tone,still overall  done well..The book starts as a travelogue which turns in to a spy thriller half way that again turns into a spiritual search of one's existence and transformation..The book also brings the essence of 19th century India under the British Raj through the crowded streets , market places, catholic schools and military regiments..The descriptions are brilliant that makes you want read more..Though this book is in the genre of children's literature I don't know how far the targeted audience can come to appreciate the theme in the first go...Have fun reading..

1 comment:

  1. I like books about duality and it seems like that is at the heart of this work. I really need to read more Kipling!

    ReplyDelete

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