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Kim (Classic Fiction)

By Rudyard Kipling (Author)
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Item description for Kim (Classic Fiction) by Rudyard Kipling...

Outline ReviewOne 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

Product Description
HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. '"I am Kim. I am Kim. And what is Kim?" His soul repeated it again and again.' Set against the backdrop of Britain and Russia's political struggle in central Asia, Kim, the son of a drunken Irish soldier grows up as a street-wise orphan in the city of Lahore. Upon befriending an aged Tibetan Lama, the playful and spirited Kim journeys with him across India, experiencing the exotic culture, religion and people of the subcontinent. On their travels they come across Kim's father's old army regiment. The Colonel quickly spots Kim's ability to blend into his surroundings and trains him to become a spy for the British Army. As his adventures take him further into the world of secret agents and political intrigue, Kim is torn between his spiritual self and the expectations of his British compatriots. In this exotic tale of mystery, friendship and struggle, Kipling gives a fascinating insight into the British Raj and the volatile age of Imperialism in India.

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Item Specifications...

Format: Abridged,   Audiobook
Studio: Naxos Audiobooks
Pages   2
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 5.59" Width: 4.72" Height: 0.39"
Weight:   0.22 lbs.
Binding  CD
Publisher   Naxos Audiobooks
ISBN  9626340185  
ISBN13  9789626340189  

Availability  0 units.

More About Rudyard Kipling

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India to British parents on December 30, 1865. In 1871, Rudyard and his sister, Trix, aged three, were left to be cared for by a couple in Southsea, England. Five years passed before he saw his parents again. His sense of desertion and despair were later expressed in his story -Baa Baa, Black Sheep- (1888), in his novel The Light that failed (1890), and his autobiography, Something of Myself (1937). As late as 1935 Kipling still spoke bitterly of the -House of Desolation- at Southsea: -I should like to burn it down and plough the place with salt.-At twelve he entered a minor public school, the United Services College at Westward Ho, North Devon. In Stalky and CO. (1899) the myopic Beetle is a self-caricature, and the days at Westward Ho are recalled with mixed feelings. At sixteen, eccentric and literary, Kipling sailed to India to become a journalist. His Indian experiences led to seven volumes of stories, including Soldiers Three (1888) and Wee Willie Winkie (1888).At twenty-four he returned to England and quickly tuned into a literary celebrity. In London he became close friends with an American, (Charles) Wolcott Balestier, with whom he collaborated on what critics called a -dime store novel.- Wolcott died suddenly in 1891, and a few weeks later Kipling married Wolcott's sister, Caroline. The newlyweds settled in Brattleboro, Vermont, where Kipling wrote The Jungle Book (1895), and most of Captains Courageous (1897). By this time Kipling's popularity and financial success were enormous.In 1899 the Kipling's settled in Sussex, England, where he wrote some of his best books: Kim (1901), Just So Stories (1902), and Puck of Pooks Hill (1906). In 1907 he received the Nobel Prize for literature. By the time he died, on January 18 1936, critical opinion was deeply divided about his writings, but his books continued to be read by thousands, and such unforgettable poems and stories as -Gunga Din, - -If, - -The Man Who Would Be King, - and -Rikki-Tikki-Tavi- have lived on in the consciousness of succeeding generations.Peter Washington is the editor of several Everyman's Library Pocket Poet anthologies, including Love Poems, Friendship Poems, and Poems of Mourning.

Rudyard Kipling lived in Bombay Bombay. Rudyard Kipling was born in 1865 and died in 1936.

Rudyard Kipling has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Aladdin Classics
  2. Bantam Classic
  3. Bantam Classics
  4. Calla Editions
  5. Classic Collection (Brilliance Audio)
  6. Classic Starts
  7. Classics Library
  8. Clothbound Classics
  9. Dover Evergreen Classics
  10. Dover Thrift Editions
  11. Dover Value Editions
  12. Easy Reader Classics (Paperback)
  13. Everyman's Library Children's Classics
  14. Everyman's Library Pocket Poets
  15. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)
  16. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  17. Penguin Classics
  18. Puffin Classics
  19. Rabbit Ears: A Classic Tale (Spotlight)
  20. Signet Classics
  21. Tantor Unabridged Classics
  22. Viking Portable Library
  23. Word Cloud Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Audio CDs > Literature & Fiction > Classics
2Books > Audio CDs > Literature & Fiction > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( K ) > Kipling, Rudyard
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > British > Kipling, Rudyard

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Reviews - What do customers think about Kim (Classic Fiction)?

A wonderful but somewhat esoteric story of India  Jun 27, 2008
Kim is the most popular of Rudyard Kipling's novels and has received both critical acclaim and negative reviews over the years. Both assessments are valid to some degree. On the positive side, Kipling has written what is acknowledged to be the best description of colonial India ever created by a native or a foreigner. Much of the negative commentary on the book has come from the intertwining of the story of a boy and a holy man each seeking his dream (good) with the political and military intrigues of the "Great Game," the political rivalry among European powers over the middle and south Asia.

The book begins with Kim, a young boy, living on the streets of Lahore in what is now Pakistan but was then a part of British India. His father was an Irish soldier but Kim is clearly a street-wise Indian. He bears some resemblance to Dickens' character, Dodger, but is not as dishonest (although he is not above deceit and trickery to get what he wants). He meets a lama from Tibet who is seeking a river. Kim has his own goal following a dream that tells him to seek a red bull on a field of green. Together they set off to find their goals with Kim acting as the chela (disciple) of the holy man.

This beginning is promising enough, but one problem for the non-native Indian is the extensive references to Indian concepts, terms and especially religious references. Despite this flaw (for the non-Indian reader at least) the adventure is colorful and the characters the two meet along the way make for both humor and interesting situations.

But Kim also is involved with a somewhat mysterious horse trader cum spy, Mahbub Ali who gives him a message to deliver pertaining to some planned military action. Kim delivers the message and eventually comes across a British military camp where he sees a flag bearing a red bull on a field of green. Kim is intrigued by this discover and in an attempt to learn more he is collared by a chaplain attached to the group and falls into the their hands. Determined to make a civilized person out of Kim the chaplain arranges for Kim to attend school. The lama, distraught by the loss of his chela comes to agree to pay for Kim's education believing that it is best for him to learn the white man's ways. The pair are reunited as the story draws to a close there is a more or less suitable ending. But the intrusion of the Great Game scenario into the story, even though it adds the amazing character, Hurree Chunder Mookerjee, does distract from what should be the main idea, the evolving love and relationship between a young boy and a old man, each seeking his dream.

I rate Kim at 4 stars because it really is worth reading although some readers will skim through some parts that are too esoteric for Westerners.
Review of Kim  Feb 26, 2008
Great book...have been reading it in a hisotry class...easy to read, flows well and engaging.
Kim: East and West in combination  Dec 27, 2007
Kim is Rudyard Kipling's mysterious India: a combination of East and West, of mystery and mysticism. Kim is not the India of history books. It is not a neat historical fiction nor is it a simple adventure story in a slightly exotic setting.

Kim was published in 1901 and is the story of the orphaned son (Kimball O'Hara, known as Kim) of a soldier in an Irish regiment. The novel is set in the Indian subcontinent where Kim spends his childhood as a waif in Lahore.

The story of Kim's journeys, as he moves between the East and the West can be enjoyed as an adventure story or read as a window into British colonialism. Kim himself straddles a number of different worlds but never really belongs to any of them completely.

While the novel includes a richly detailed portrait of Indian life and assumes that western mastery is desirable, Kipling frequently identifies similarities between the cultures of India and those of the Europeans in India.

This is a novel which I think is best read twice. Once as a child - for the adventure and mystery and again as an adult for the broader story.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
A Good Spy Story That You Really Need to Read for Yourself  Jul 6, 2007
'Kim', taken solely on its own terms, is a late 19th century adventure tale, an early spy story, a travelogue of northern India, a coming-of-age story all set in the midst of the Great Game, the Russo-British contest for imperial dominance in Central Asia. It's a good tale well told, if the language is somewhat dated for the modern reader.

But, of course, 'Kim' is generally not simply taken on it own terms because its author Rudyard Kipling came to personify British imperialism as much as Lord Kitchener. The Norton Edition includes excellent articles that provide historical context as well as several critical essays. I consider myself an anti-imperialist, but also admittedly somewhat of a romantic about the British Empire, and I did not detect jingoism in 'Kim'.

Readers interested in even more background will want to read Quest for Kim: In Search of Kipling's Great Game. Readers needing to be disabused of romanticism about British imperialism may want to consider Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya.

At the end of the day, 'Kim' is quite a good adventure tale and a book that really need to read for yourself. Highly Recommended.

My Favorite Novel  May 24, 2007
After fifty plus years of reading, I think I can say that Kim is my favorite novel. I'm not sure it is the best novel I ever read, whatever "best" might mean, and it certainly isn't the most profound, but there is simply no other book I have enjoyed as much or have reread as often. Many other this site reviewers have said that they liked the book very much, often for different reasons: some like the "Great Game" aspect and others enjoy the rich narrative description of India for which the book is justly famous. (A few reviewers found the book "difficult", apparently because of the language device that Kipling uses when speakers are speaking in languages other than English, or for Kipling's use of unfamiliar words, and others found it boring, a criticism I find nearly incomprehensible. I honestly believe that if you find Kim boring, you just don't like to read fiction, except perhaps at the level of Tom Clancy novels. And don't be put off by those reviews that found the book difficult. I presume these readers were looking for a continuation of The Jungle Book and found an adult novel instead. Kim is much easier reading than the novels of many of Kipling's contemporaries, such as Conrad or James, and is no more difficult than Twain.)

At least one other reviewer shares my view that in essence Kim is a coming of age novel, and one of the best, in a league with Huckleberry Finn and A Portrait of the Artist. The Great Game provides the book with the bones of a plot, and Kipling's description of India, much like Twain's description of the Mississippi River environs in Huckleberry Finn, published 16 years before Kim, is the flesh. But the heart of the book is the development of the relationship between Kim and the Red Lama, the fundamental story of two people, one an orphan boy and the other an elderly mystic, finding many of the things they are seeking in caring for and looking after one another.

Again, it is hard to avoid comparing Kim with Huckleberry Finn. The core of the latter book is the development of the relationship between Huck and Jim, and it seems likely that Kipling was influenced by the earlier book. Kipling had clearly read and admired Huckleberry Finn, and once referred to its author as "The great and God-like Clemens." Not that I find the notion that Kipling was influenced by Twain to in any way diminish Kim. It is an absolutely wonderful book and I envy anyone who hasn't read it that is about to do so. Come to think of it, that's true of both Kim and Huckleberry Finn.

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