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Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Kim (1901)

by Rudyard Kipling

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,305156916 (3.86)3 / 446
  1. 51
    Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling (John_Vaughan)
  2. 30
    Quest for Kim: In Search of Kipling's Great Game by Peter Hopkirk (DuncanHill)
    DuncanHill: Hopkirk follows Kim's travels across India, exploring the places and the historical events and people which inspired Kipling.
  3. 31
    Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Another orphan meets a helpful older man with a mission
  4. 10
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Orphaned kid with plenty of street-smarts embarks on a dangerous journey interwoven with high-stakes matters from the adult world (Slavery/Russo-British Espionage).
  5. 21
    The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye (MarthaJeanne)
    MarthaJeanne: I think that Ash in Far Pavillions was based partly on Kim. Both books deal with the ambivalence between cultures of those who were brought up in a different culture to the one they belonged to by birth and later education. Both are also great adventure stories that take place during the British Raj in India. The big difference being that Kim only deals with childhood, but Ash has to go on to life as an adult.… (more)
  6. 21
    About a Boy by Nick Hornby (melmore)
  7. 11
    The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: More spying and skulduggery
  8. 22
    Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (Gregorio_Roth)
    Gregorio_Roth: The book is a modern interpretation of KIM in a number of ways. I think it will complete your point of view on Imperialism and India.
  9. 12
    Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Both these books feature cunning, clever spies who speak several languages and can pass for several different nationalities - they are also both great adventures.
  10. 12
    The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (thorold)
    thorold: Two books that demonstrate that it's possible to use a Buddhist holy man to power the plot of a complex modern novel without getting all mystical and Hermann Hesse.

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English (150)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (156)
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
Kipling is under-appreciated these days. Kim is a wonderful book which I have read a few times now, and had to keep. :) Like Haggard, Kipling wrote about "the Great Game." Spy stuff early on, and overlaid with the gentle story of the Tibetan Monk on his way to his forever home. These old guys from the turn of the 20th century could write - many of them wrote so well and always lucidly and with a vocabulary that they used in even the pulp fiction of the day (Example - Sax Rohmer stuff). It is an extraordinary pleasure to read a well written book. ( )
  catspec | Sep 19, 2018 |
You could say this is a spy story; a coming of age novel; a travelogue; a spiritual journey. But more than any of that, it is a love letter to India. Kipling was entranced, and I suspect that he wanted to be Kim, to throw away his Western clothes and culture, and wander the back roads and villages accompanied by wise men, soldiers, traders, and spies. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
This was an unexpectedly good read. I was touched by Kim's love for his master and his loneliness in the world. There were also a number of interesting characters such as the obese spy who lost weight after leading the two Russian spies on a merry-go-round. ( )
  siok | Mar 20, 2018 |
Road trip! An orphan boy in India travels the Grand Trunk Road. He discovers that his father was Irish, which means he is destined to be a sahib. He meets/uses/fools/reveres various religious/ethnic/caste characters along the way. The coincidences employed by the author would make Dickens blush...and yet the tale is not diminished. Kipling's storytelling skill is excellent, and his observations on human nature reveal a compassionate soul. Compared to other Kipling works that I've read, I would say this story is heavier on atmosphere and satire than on pure plot. ( )
  LaurelPoe | Dec 25, 2017 |
I'd never read Kim or, in fact, anything by Rudyard Kipling before. I've been told that Kipling is the "poster boy" supporting colonialism, as well as racist so I started this book with some trepidation.

It would be nice to be able to say simply "this is a story of a great quest" and enjoy it on its own terms, but I think we have to be aware of at least some of the assumptions Kipling is asking us to make about the world. While I noted some references that are clearly racist (especially by today's standards), I could live with those because most major characters, of all races, were presented as multi-dimensional human beings. What was harder for me to accept is the way the author, and his characters, refuse to consider any challenges to the status quo of colonialism. In Kim himself, we have someone who has grown up in an Indian cultural environment, having lost his European parents at a very young age, but who nevertheless has a special destiny because of his racial origins. I don't think we can absolve Kipling of racism on this point.

The debate on whether to continue to read Kipling has a parallel in today's debate over the naming of schools after our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. As Senator Murray Sinclair said in a CBC Radio interview, I think it is important to understand and learn from history. That is why we must read Kim as a product of its time, not as a product of today. That is why it is better to use Kim (and Kipling) as a launching pad for discussion of our history and how it influences our present rather than hiding them in a dark closet.

I enjoyed Kim as a character. His character is pulled in opposite directions which parallels the broader geopolitical situation around him. But as a story, Kim was, at best, adequate. The part of the book dealing with espionage was juvenile. I strongly preferred the part dealing with Kim's relationship and quest with the lama.

Mr. Kipling's writes well; his descriptions are fantastic, and I really felt like I was on the train with Kim and the lama.

On balance, there are good points: the writing, the rich detail of Indian culture, Kim himself and his search for his identity, the quest story. There are also bad points: the colonialism for sure, and the plot, especially the spy story, left something to be desired. ( )
  LynnB | Oct 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
Adventures aside, Kipling's descriptions of India, its exotic people and places, are awesome, as are Sharma's seemingly inexhaustible collection of accents British and Indian – in Kim's case, a subtle mixture of both. No mean feat.
added by peterbrown | editGuardian, Sue Arnold (Feb 13, 2010)

» Add other authors (389 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rudyard Kiplingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Biseo, CesareCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carrington, Charles EdmundIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, MortonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cooper, SusanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dastor, SamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hilton, MargaretNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacques, RobinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kipling, John LockwoodIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyers, JeffreyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolland, VéroniqueCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Said, Edward W.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandison, AlanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serra, RenatoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sharma, MadhavNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vincenzi, FioraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weeks, Edwin LordCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Kim (1950IMDb)
Kim (1955IMDb)
Kim (1984IMDb)
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Oh ye who tread the Narrow Way

By Tophet-flare to Judgment Day,

Be gentle when the heathen pray

To Buddha at Kamakura!
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He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam-Zammah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher - the Wonder House, as the natives call the Lahore Museum.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140183523, Paperback)

One of the particular pleasures of reading Kim is the full range of emotion, knowledge, and experience that Rudyard Kipling gives his complex hero. Kim O'Hara, the orphaned son of an Irish soldier stationed in India, is neither innocent nor victimized. Raised by an opium-addicted half-caste woman since his equally dissolute father's death, the boy has grown up in the streets of Lahore:
Though he was burned black as any native; though he spoke the vernacular by preference, and his mother-tongue in a clipped uncertain sing-song; though he consorted on terms of perfect equality with the small boys of the bazar; Kim was white--a poor white of the very poorest.
From his father and the woman who raised him, Kim has come to believe that a great destiny awaits him. The details, however, are a bit fuzzy, consisting as they do of the woman's addled prophecies of "'a great Red Bull on a green field, and the Colonel riding on his tall horse, yes, and'--dropping into English--'nine hundred devils.'"

In the meantime, Kim amuses himself with intrigues, executing "commissions by night on the crowded housetops for sleek and shiny young men of fashion." His peculiar heritage as a white child gone native, combined with his "love of the game for its own sake," makes him uniquely suited for a bigger game. And when, at last, the long-awaited colonel comes along, Kim is recruited as a spy in Britain's struggle to maintain its colonial grip on India. Kipling was, first and foremost, a man of his time; born and raised in India in the 19th century, he was a fervid supporter of the Raj. Nevertheless, his portrait of India and its people is remarkably sympathetic. Yes, there is the stereotypical Westernized Indian Babu Huree Chander with his atrocious English, but there is also Kim's friend and mentor, the Afghani horse trader Mahub Ali, and the gentle Tibetan lama with whom Kim travels along the Grand Trunk Road. The humanity of his characters consistently belies Kipling's private prejudices, and raises Kim above the mere ripping good yarn to the level of a timeless classic. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:41 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"Kimball O'Hara grows up an orphan in the walled city of Lahore, India. Deeply devoted to an old Tibetan lama but involved in a secret mission for the British, Kim struggles to weave the strands of his life into a single pattern. Charged with action and suspense, yet profoundly spiritual, Kim vividly expresses the sounds and smells, colors and characters, opulence and squalor of complex, contradictory India under British rule."--Publisher description.… (more)

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Legacy Library: Rudyard Kipling

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Average: (3.86)
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141332506, 0141442379, 0141199970

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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