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by Rudyard Kipling
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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
You know a novel is succeeding when you begin to hear and think in the voices of the characters--and that's doubly true of a good audiobook. Kipling's masterpiece about an orphaned British beggar boy who knows the streets and marketplaces of India better than any native would be a pleasure read plainly. But Dastor's masterful performance, which individualizes dozens of Indian and British voices, is unparalleled in artistry, wit and precision. Despite his reputation as a trumpeter of imperialism, Kipling is himself full of wit, irony and rich imagination in this tale of Kim and the Tibetan holy man, who journey "the broad, smiling river of life" that is India's great highway. Together they encounter a series of adventures as colorful and memorable as those of Huck Finn traveling down the Mississippi. But more than an action story, here is a story told in dialogue, one whose key events are exchanges of wit, whose rendering of the vernacular of British India is the thread and essence of its tale. Clearly, this is a novel that, better than almost any, lends itself to audio performance. This Cover to Cover Classic is a standout, and one of this reviewer's all-time favorite audio experiences. D.A.W. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award. (c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine
?A work of positive genius, as radiant all over with intellectual light as the sky of a frosty night with stars.??The Atlantic Monthly
When his father, a soldier stationed in India, dies suddenly, young Kimball O'Hara is left to fend for himself on the streets of Lahore. A proper English lad, Kim is plunged into an exotic and unfamiliar world of crowded bazaars and noisy markets, gilded temples, sahibs and fakirs, beggars, whirling dervishes, soldiers, and spies. Forced to live hand-to-mouth, Kim must rely on his cunning and wit to survive.But his life takes a curious twist when he meets a holy man, a lama, who is about to embark on a very mysterious quest: a pilgrimage that will take him across the vast continent, across mighty rivers and up the majestic Himalayas. He wants Kim to accompany him.But where will the journey lead? For Kim, all roads lead to adventure!
Reared in the teeming streets of India at the turn of the century, the orphan Kim is the 'Friend of all the world', an imp with an endless interest in the extraordinary characters he meets daily. One of them, an old Tibetan lama, sets him on the path that will lead him to travel the Great Trunk Road, and become a spy for the British.
From the Publisher
Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards.
Inside Flap Copy
Filled with lyrical, exotic prose and nostalgia for Rudyard Kipling?s native India, Kim is widely acknowledged as the author?s greatest novel and a key element in his winning the 1907 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the tale of an orphaned sahib and the burdensome fate that awaits him when he is unwittingly dragged into the Great Game of Imperialism. During his many adventures, he befriends a sage old Tibetan lama who transforms his life. As Pankaj Mishra asserts in his Introduction, ?To read the novel now is to notice the melancholy wisdom that accompanies the native boy?s journey through a broad and open road to the narrow duties of the white man?s world: how the deeper Buddhist idea of the illusion of the self, of time and space, makes bearable for him the anguish of abandoning his childhood.?
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