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The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories…
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The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories [Dover Thrift Edition]

by Rudyard Kipling

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The Man Who Would Be king and Other Stories wasn't really my cup of tea. The book contains five short stories, each quite different from the other: you will find amongst them a Poe-esque thriller, a love story between a British soldier and an Indian woman, and a picaresque tale set in Afghanistan. Having never read anything by Kipling before and having heard his name mentioned repeatedly, I was expecting something more. Granted this is still the 19th century - so maybe I'm overlooking the fact that some techniques which today seem old and dated might have been considered innovative then. Still, from the point of view of a modern reader, this book didn't have much to give me. I had heard that Kipling is deeply associated with British colonialism, but somehow expected his views to be more subtle. The extremely racist descriptions of Indians and other colonized people is, frankly, very insulting - even while acknowledging as I do that that sort of attitude was almost universal at the time. One could argue that the descriptions of the locals are provided by fictional characters and not by Kipling himself and that perhaps Kipling is just an apt historian documenting his contemporaries' views on colonialism. Even if that were the case - which I doubt - the fact remains that none of the five stories in this collection manage to escape the portrayal of the British protagonist as infinitely superior to the native inhabitants whose land he has invaded. The only story of the five included that I can truly say I enjoyed was Wee Willie Winkie, not that it managed to change my overall opinion on the book. Perhaps a reason one should read this is to get an idea of colonization in the 19th century through the perspective of the settlers. Still, there are better books out there on the subject. ( )
  girlunderglass | Feb 2, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486280519, Paperback)

Winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, Kipling drew upon his experiences in Anglo-Indian society for much of his fiction. This volume includes 5 of the author's best early stories: "The Phantom Rickshaw," "Wee Willie Winkie," "Without Benefit of Clergy," "The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes" and the title selection.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:35 -0400)

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