This engrossing and moving novel, with its diversity of memorable characters, offers many insights into political, religious and social tensions.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A blend of coming-of-age story, spy novel and spiritual quest, Kim is set in colonial India against the backdrop of games of espionage between competing European powers. Kim, a white orphan boy, befriends an elderly Buddhist holy man, and the two undertake an extraordinary journey. Rudyard Kipling spent several years in India during the 1880s, and he offers vivid, affectionate descriptions of the country alongside fascinating insights into Buddhist philosophy. We were captivated by the book’s larger-than-life characters (especially Kim, an ingenious and charming rogue) and inspired by Kipling’s portrait of an exceptional intergenerational friendship.
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This is the enthralling story of a white boy growing up on the streets in India around the late 1880s. Having been orphaned at the age of 3 he has only vague memories of his white British culture and can easily pass as a Hindu or Muslim native to India. Out of curiousity he attaches himself to a wandering Tibetan lama and the two proceed together on their separate quests. Eventually his being a "sahib" catches up with him but although his birth race claims him he never fully loses his Hindu side and this is put to good use in the later chapters as the story unfolds. The story is rich in local colour and detail and clearly brings out the many cross-cultural delights and the tensions of India at that time. It is written with loving sympathy for that beautiful, amazing and to the Western mind, chaotic country and is remarkable for having been written so sensitively by a white man, much of whose own experience of growing up is evidently reflected here. A joy to read, a real insight into its time.