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Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Kim (1901)

by Rudyard Kipling

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,778146734 (3.85)3 / 414
  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. 21
    About a Boy by Nick Hornby (melmore)
  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. 22
    The Game (Mary Russell Novel) by Laurie R. King (loriephillips)
  7. 00
    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).
  8. 11
    The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: More spying and skulduggery
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 (141)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  All (146)
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
An orphaned son of a British officer gets involved in espionage in England's "Great Game" in Central Asia ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 15, 2017 |
This is a more personal review rather than a larger overview of the work. Others may have a similar take.
This book is well-written and the characters are vividly created. By vivid, I mean Fuji Velvia vivid. Some will find the characters overdone, others will find the color highly pleasing. This vividness maintains the high sense of motion, even though most of the novel had very little real action. Face it - like Lord of the Rings, this is a story of people just walking.
Colloquial language made the story valuable to its contemporaries and brings out the characters, but kills it for modern readers. I can step into Chaucer or Shakespeare and, after a bit, my mind kicks over and I don't have to mentally translate.
Did not happen here. The many end-notes are essential but break the story's flow.
The impact of the dead slang (much of the dialog) combined with all of the nod, nod, wink, wink, nudge, nudge implications and cultural assumptions means that many interactions went over my head.
You can tell this is a work of love and Kipling loved India and his boyhood there. These are his heart's treasures and he wished to share that with others. Sadly for me, all of the amazing detail is squandered and the story transforms from being realistic to impressionistic. ( )
  Hae-Yu | Dec 5, 2016 |
Instead of a review, I'm just posting a comment I made on a writer's blog, who advanced the idea that Kipling's book was inherently racist. Pretty much sums up my feelings about the book.

Gosh, I really disagree about Kipling’s intent in Kim. I don’t think taking a quote from a character–the soldier who says the idea of natives ruling themselves is “madness”–and then ascribing that quote to the author himself is fair. I happen to be a writer myself, and I shudder to think that some of the things my less savory characters say could be confused with what I personally believe. I just finished reading Kim and I was amazed by how well Kipling understood the culture and how deeply Kim connected to his native friends, the lama, and the culture at large. The lama and Kim have the deepest, most meaningful relationship in the book; Kim is in awe of Huree Babu; and he is loyal to Mahtub. His relationships with the whites in this book, on the other hand, are superficial, full of suspicion and disdain, and only a means to an end. When, at one point, Kim falls prey to the pleasure of hearing himself praised by government officials, Kipling is quick to point this out as a failing.

I mean, at the end of the book, Kim says emphatically, in more than one way, to the lama: “I am not a Sahib; I am your chela.” If Kipling believed as the soldier did, I don’t think we’d see these lines in the book, and certainly not at the end, where they appear and where the reader is left to draw her final conclusion about who Kim is. Just my two cents. I thought it was actually an enlightened (no pun intended) book for its time.
1 vote bookofmoons | Sep 1, 2016 |
I read this many many years ago as a child ... and remember LOVING it.
Although I didn't really understand the Great Game" at the time; re-reading the book in my 20s was more satisfying as I could follow/understand the political wrangling and nuances.

It's probably time for another read ... lovely isn't it, how we get so much more from great books everytime we read them!" ( )
1 vote GeetuM | Jun 3, 2016 |
A brilliant piece of writing from an acknowledged master of the craft! Kim combines historical fiction, espionage, coming-of-age, and adventure into a truly entertaining book, whose flavor becomes fuller and more nuanced the more it is read. Very cool!

Kipling wrote of a time when Britain administered a great empire, and he was in the perfect position to see both the flaws and beauties of such a system. These add an even greater zest to his writing, and his sympathy for those under British rule makes the native characters all the more intelligent, compelling, and sympathetic.

Sit back and enjoy the ride! ( )
  RoanClay | Mar 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 141 (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 (388 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!
First words
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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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)

Kim, by Rudyard Kipling, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

    Rudyard Kipling has been attacked for championing British imperialism and celebrated for satirizing it. In fact, he did both. Nowhere does he express his own ambivalence more strongly than in Kim, his rousing adventure novel of a young man of many allegiances.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.

    Jeffrey Meyers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has published forty-three books, including biographies of Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, D. H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, and George Orwell. He also wrote the introduction and notes to the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth.… (more)

    » see all 21 descriptions

Legacy Library: Rudyard Kipling

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17 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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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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