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Kim

Kim

Written by Rudyard Kipling

Narrated by Madhav Sharma


Kim

Written by Rudyard Kipling

Narrated by Madhav Sharma

ratings:
4/5 (75 ratings)
Length:
13 hours
Released:
Dec 1, 2009
ISBN:
9789629548216
Format:
Audiobook

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Description

Set in the days of the British Raj, Kipling’s finest novel is the exciting and touching tale of an Irish orphan-boy who has lived free in the streets of Lahore before setting out, with a Tibetan Lama, on a spiritual quest. Kim later enrols in the Indian Service and simultaneously embarks on an espionage mission of supreme importance. A thrilling climax in the Himalayas occurs when the two quests become entangled. Kim’s search for identity is staged within one of the most magnificent and affectionate portrayals of Indian culture in literature.
Released:
Dec 1, 2009
ISBN:
9789629548216
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

<B>Rudyard Kipling</B> was born in Bombay, India, in 1865. One of the most revered writers in recent history, many of his works are deemed classic literature. To this day, he maintains an avid following and reputation as one of the greatest storytellers of the past two centuries. In 1907, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1936, but his stories live on—even eighty years after his passing.


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What people think about Kim

4.1
75 ratings / 63 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    Few characters in literature will capture your heart the way the 13-year-old imp Kim will. Few literary relationships will move you as much as the one that springs up between the Irish-Indian imp and the Buddhist Lama. In three days, the old Lama's heart goes out to his chela (disciple) for his courtesy, charity and wisdom of his little years. So did mine. Kipling's love for India, its people, its customs and traditions, its riches and its poverty shines through in this novel. There is humor, pathos, love and mischief. And plenty of adventure. India's Grand Trunk Road, a river of life, is like Huck Finn's Mississippi River. Kim is a descendant of Huck. And from Kim comes the delightful Hindustaniwallah Hatterr (G V Desani's hero) and Saleem Sinai (Midnight's Children). A real masterpiece.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    The strongest impressions I got from this novel were vivid descriptions of India and the wide variety of people who lived in there in the late 19th century. Told from the perspective of Kim, an orphan of Irish descent on his own in this vast land, he quickly embarks on an adventure by joining a holy man, a lama, as his disciple, and traveling through a diverse landscape. This book is good reading for anyone interested in British India.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    It was sooo good I hope everybody has the chance to read it ??
  • (5/5)
    A fascinating narrative beautifully read. Spy, adventure, coming of age fantasy in a very particular historical time and place.
  • (5/5)
    I'm hard put to explain why I like this novel so much, except that it makes India come alive to me. The travellers on the road, the men of the Hills, the Lama and all the other characters live and breathe.
  • (4/5)
    I am pretty sure I didn't understand this book, but I still enjoyed it.

    I enjoyed the journey on foot and by rail through India, a country I find intriguing but way too scary to actually visit. And anyway, I won't ever be able to visit this particular India since this one existed what, 150 years ago or so?

    I enjoyed the interactions of the many different cultures in the book. Multiple religions and ethnic backgrounds and languages all met at different points along the road, and Kipling really made these differences come alive in a way that allowed me to see the person underneath. I never really had a sense for how mixed the population of India is (or perhaps just was? I don't know how different Kipling's India is from India of the 21st century). Kipling lets us see inside the characters through direct access to their thoughts and through often hilarious asides and sarcastic remarks in other languages.

    I especially enjoyed the developing relationship between Kim and the lama as the orphan boy grows to trust and to love the holy man. This development seems to mirror the way that going through the outward motions of a spiritual practice eventually leads to internal change. Their relationship develops alongside the spiritual journey, and both involve themes of sacrifice and of bearing burdens for the sake of love.

    There is in this novel an element of trust that I also find in narratives of long foot journeys set in the United States, like those along the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. No matter where they went, Kim and the lama trusted that what they needed would be provided, and it was, if not always in the way they originally expected. I find the freedom in that perspective compelling.

    One of my favorite passages:

    "And so [the lama] petted and comforted Kim with wise saws and grave texts on that little understood beast, our body, who, being but a delusion, insists on posing as the soul, to the darkening of the Way, and the immense multiplication of unnecessary evils." (p 334)

    Kim can blend in, chameleon-like, in almost any situation. He studies others closely and is a natural at trying on different personalities, classes, and ethnicities. This opens up some interesting career options, but it also highlights this idea of the body being an illusion. The lama fasts and meditates in an attempt to liberate himself from his body in the traditional Buddhist way, but Kim dips in and out of different identities, and in this way frees himself from his body and finds his soul.

    My nine-year-old and I read this book aloud together, and I think it was a combination of her persistent nature and the interesting and amusing little bits Kipling works into the novel that enabled her to stick with it chapter by chapter each evening. (She also enjoyed trying to trace Kim and the lama's travels in our atlas, which was difficult at times because the spellings of the city names in the atlas were often different from those in the novel.) Accepting that we didn't understand what was going on sometimes and just trusting that something resembling understanding would come eventually, we trucked along. We both got something different out of this book, but I think we both enjoyed it.
  • (3/5)
    Well, even though I had been a member of the scouting movement, this was my first reading of this taut, well thought-out spy novel. It's proof that Kipling was a writer capable of adult themes, and with a good eye for details. There are many parallels with the later figure of "James Bond", the creation of a false familial relationship, the need for a father figure, and the recruitment of those with great emotional needs to serve national ends. Come to think of it, John Le Carre is also another obvious student. Suitable for young adults, and a good place for adult discussions of espionage to begin.this book was originally published in 1901.
  • (5/5)
    As enchanting as I remembered, and given his attitudes toward the British Empire, surprisingly open-minded about India and its inhabitants. Unlike some writers who just trafficked in exoticism and Orientalism, Kipling took the time to flesh out his native characters (who are often more clued-in than several of the supercilious but supremely ignorant Westerners). Kim is a wonderful creation, curious, cheeky and savvy beyond his years, and I loved joining him on his adventures throughout a country I know too little about. I'm glad Kipling didn't write more Kim stories, as it might have diluted the uniqueness of this one -- but I'm also sorry he didn't, because I wasn't ready for it to end!
  • (4/5)
    Kipling is a controversial author these days, seen as an unapologetic imperialist booster of the British Empire and even racist. Yet Indian authors such as Arundhati Roy, V.S. Naipaul and Salman Rushdie have found Kipling impressive and even influential. Kipling can be a wonderful storyteller. Rushdie has said Kipling's writing has "the power simultaneously to infuriate and to entrance." I found that the case in both The Jungle Books and now Kim. And yes, you can see a, shall we say, very un-PC sensibility there, but my overall impression was Kipling's great love for India, which he knew intimately:The diamond-bright dawn woke men and crows and bullocks together. Kim sat up and yawned, shook himself, and thrilled with delight. This was seeing the world in real truth; this was life as he would have it - bustling and shouting, the buckling of belts, and beating of bullocks and creaking of wheels, lighting of fires and cooking of food, and new sights at every turn of the approving eye. The morning mist swept off in a whorl of silver, the parrots shot away to some distant river in shrieking green hosts: all the well-wheels within ear-shot went to work. India was awake, and Kim was in the middle of it.Kim is an orphan who was born Kimball O'Hara, the son of an Irishman who served as a sergeant in the British Army in India. He grows up in the streets of Lahore in the Punjab, where he is known as "the Little Friend of the World" and more fluent in the languages of India than English. If there's one indelible impression the book makes, it's in how it depicts the richness and diversity of India, with so many different languages, ethnicities and faiths. And in this book at least, the Indians and Asians certainly do not come across as stereotypes and those Europeans who refuse to learn from them are scorned. Kim also is about the "Great Game" of espionage and a coming of age adventure story about an unforgettable character not yet seventeen at the end of the book. I certainly can see traces of Kim in books as diverse as Robert Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy and Kaye's The Far Pavilions. This was a completely absorbing read.
  • (4/5)
    My first book of 2014! This was 3.5 stars. So. Kim is an orphan who has survived quite well on the streets of Lahore. He ends up a disciple to a kindly old Tibetan lama who is on a spiritual quest to find the river that will cleanse him of his sins. HOWEVER, Kim is also friends with a Muslim horse trader who also happens to be a spy for the British and he recruits Kim to do some work for him which eventually results in Kim's true Sahib-ness being discovered -- Kim is actually Kimball O'Hara. Kim is sent away to a school for English boys (paid for by his lama) and the British decide to use Kim's street smarts and natural intelligence to become an agent in The Great Game. Which sounds way more exciting than what it actually is -- some kind of beef between England and Russia for domination in Central Asia. Oh, imperialism. Kim goes on many adventures along India and meets lots of people, thus making Kim notable for its diverse portrait of the people, culture, regions, and religions of India. Which would be wonderful except that I am an ignorant dummy: I have some basic and hazy concepts of Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Bengalis, Jains, people from the hill vs. the plains, Lahore vs. Bombay, etc. but I think I missed some of those nuances that, in part, makes the book so enjoyable. I really did like Kim: he was smart, loyal, and endearingly lovely to and protective of his lama. Reading about a teenager being kind and respectful to an elderly person is a nice change, even if it's only fiction. Kim is not exactly introspective, but he definitely changes over the course of the novel -- he starts off as a street smart, independent 13 year old orphan living on the streets and ends the novel as a 17 year old British spy with a father figure who loves and cares for him. Oh, and I also love Hurree and Muhbub Ali. Happy endings!
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful and ambitious story: a Bildungsroman, a travelogue, a spy adventure. Definitely marred by Kipling's belief in the magical wonderfulness of the British Empire and evident sexism, but filled with lovely details, excitement, and humour.Far more polished and interesting than his Jungle Book stories, containing many fewer Kipling literary tics.
  • (3/5)
    I have always known Rudyard Kipling more by reputation than reading, so I have enjoyed recently getting into his material first-hand. I know Kipling is a wonderful word-smith, but I wasn't as sure of his capacity to write enduring fiction. I found "Kim" to be a great read. The first third of the book is a particular treat; the characters of Kim and the Lama are well drawn, and the sub-continental background is lovingly painted with rich detail of people and places. Parts of the rest of the book seem to have been more of a grind for the author - the pace varies, almost as if the plot had to be grafted on to this wonderful character he had created. Kipling has the contemporary reputation as an arch imperialist, but there are few jarring moments in this book. The people and the energy of the interactions are drawn with generous affection, with no condescension. Read in e-format August 2013.
  • (5/5)
    I read this as a child and still enjoyed it later when I read it as an adult. I think Kipling is grossly misunderstood as being responsible for promulgating the concept of "the white man's burden." A book to read if you want to read another in the same vein is Kunzru's _The Impressionist_ (Kunzru actually quotes from _Kim_ quite a bit in his book.) - a _Kim_ for adults.
  • (3/5)
    Kim is the classic tale of a young orphan boy who grows up in the streets of colonial India. Although Kim survives as a street urchin, he is the son of an Irish officer and is a mishmash of his British ancestry and his Indian upbringing. Throughout this book, Kim is torn between his two nationalities. Once it is discovered that he is a white English boy, he is sent to school to be educated and eventually become part of the 'Great Game' or the espionage plot between England and the other European power houses. At the same time, Kim meets a Tibetan Lama and wants to accompany him as his servant on his quest for enlightenment. Kim is miraculously able to do both and his travels take him through much of India and the Himalayas.

    The descriptions of Colonial India were the best part of this book. Definitely, it was a crossroads for many cultures that all seemed to work well together and coexist peacefully. Also, the amazing friendship that Kim develops with the old Tibetan Lama was sweet and touching. But, this book is on quite a few of the notable 'books you MUST read' lists including, 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, Modern Library and the Radcliffe List. For me the book was sweet and even memorable, but not quite earth shattering.
  • (4/5)
    Kim is an orphaned Irish boy, who has grown up under the care of an Indian woman. He's lived in the streets all his life, running amok just as the other Indian boys do, with little knowledge or care that he is white. When he meets a holy man, a lama on a quest to achieve enlightenment by bathing in a certain river, he is fascinated and decides to become the lama's apprentice. Together, as they walk the roads of India and meet many people, Kim also gets himself wrapped up in British espionage. This was a fun little romp that very much reminded me of the many adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, except on the roads of India instead of the riverside of the South. I don't know nearly enough about the intricate nature of India's many cultures to know where Kipling got it right and where he screwed it. Since Kipling grew up in India himself, it makes sense that he drew on his own experiences while writing. I'm sure there's a certain amount of Orientalizing and stereotyping going on, but not how much. In his favor though, Kipling seems to present most of the characters in multiple layers and to treat much of the events as entirely normal, while most Westerners would consider them strange. In some cases, he also flips to show how Indians and the lama are perceived through the white man's lens. For example, the lama, who is seen as a holy man to all the native peoples around him, is seen as just another dirty beggar to the white men. However, the fact remains that the British are clearly the good guys and colonialism is presented as, if not a good thing, then at least not a problem. Also, whenever "magic" came into play within the story, I kind of cringed a bit as it seemed to be the greatest indication of stereotyping the "mysterious and magical East".There are also some spiritual aspects to the book, as presented through the lama and his peaceful quest. He teaches Kim about the wheel of life and how everyone is tied to the wheel, how the body is illusion and he wishes to escape from illusion. This is mixed with the assemblage of Hindu and Muslim people and customs they meet along the road, all of which is very interesting (though again, I can't properly judge how much is accurate). On the whole, I enjoyed it quite a bit from an adventure standpoint with some reservations in regards to other aspects.
  • (1/5)
    I usually enjoy books about Europe's colonial past and this author seemed to be in a privileged position to render here a memorable account. Certainly the descriptions of India are very thorough - but the writing style was too dense and absolutely positively utterly boring... I didn't manage more than 40 pages, I think...
  • (4/5)
    Adrian Praetzellis did a marvellous job with the narration, especially the various Indian accents.
  • (5/5)
    Grew up with this book. Hard to see it with an adult eye.
  • (5/5)
    Brilliant evocation of India in the late 19th century at the height of the Raj. He writes of the people and culture with insight and affection whilst spinning an attractive tale of juvenile opportunity and development. His best book.
  • (5/5)
    Kim is a story of a young street beggar who becomes involved in the international intrique surrounding England's control of India. Nicknamed, "Friend of all the world," Kim is charming, savvy, resourceful, and smart. As a street beggar he can slip in and out of nearly any environment without attracting attention. Ignored by those with power and importance, he makes the perfect spy—and he loves the game.

    This book has everything: adventure, mystery, even spirituality. One of the subplots involves Kim's relationship with a Tibetan holy man who is seeking a legendary arrow that will lead to enlightenment and salvation. The intertwining of the transcendent spirituality with the gritty reality of Indian street life is handled perfectly by Kipling. It's a beautiful book that is fun, fun, fun on every page.
  • (2/5)
    Rudyard Kipling schildert die Geschichte des in den Slums von Lahore aufwachsenden irischen Waisenjungen Kimball O'Hara. Die Abenteuer des namensgebenden Hauptprotagonisten sind so vielfältig und bunt, wie der indische Subkontinent selbst. Im Vordergrund steht die Beziehung Kims zu einem tibetischen Lama und seine Verwicklungen ins "Große Spiel", dem Ringen zwischen Großbritannien und Russland um die Vorherrschaft in Zentralasien im 19. Jahrhundert.Doch gerade in dieser Vielfalt liegt auch die große Schwäche des Romans: Kipling vertändelt sich in Details, schwenkt sprunghaft von einem Abenteuer ins nächste und opfert seinem Erzähldrang Struktur und Handlungsstrang. Zudem deutet Kipling sehr viel bloß an, insbesondere jene Dinge, die mit "The Great Game" zu tun haben. Man muss sich schon in der Geschichte Zentralasien gut auskennen, um das Buch tatsächlich zu verstehen. Von der Kritik ausnehmen kann man diesbezüglich auch die vorliegende Ausgabe nicht: Zwar beinhaltet die Ausgabe einen umfangreichen Anhang samt Erläuterungen, doch diese selbst sind phasenweise rätselhaft und unvollständig. Andere indische Originalausdrücke wiederrum bleiben überhaupt unkommentiert oder werden lieblos in eckigen Klammerausdrücken im Fließtext erklärt.
  • (5/5)
    One of my very favorite books, hands down. It never fails to leave me choked up when I reach the end.
  • (4/5)
    This book is pure fun. And not racist! I was pretty worried it was gonna be racist, but Kipling shows pretty much equal disdain to every ethnic group, referring to whites contemptuously as "the creed that lumps nine-tenths of the world under the title of 'heathen'" (88).

    I'm giving it four stars for now because, I dunno, I guess it doesn't feel quite as Important as some of the other books I've been reading recently. But that might change. It's a perfectly crafted adventure novel, and that ain't nothing to sneeze at.

    If you can find an edition with a map, go for that. I would have liked one.
  • (4/5)
     Enchanting, well crafted tale of a lively, Indian life.
  • (4/5)
    Kipling's classic tale of the orphaned son of an Irish soldier growing up on the streets of Colonial India and discovering his natural talent as a spy.Between the somewhat old-fashioned language and the many, many unfamiliar cultural references, I fear that parts of this may have gone past me a bit, but I enjoyed it a great deal, anyway. There's a wonderfully subtle sense of humor to it, and an equally wonderful sense of the vibrancy and diversity of the Indian landscape and culture. And the sly, savvy Kim is a terrific character, as are many of the people he shares his adventures with.
  • (5/5)
    While it is not politically correct, this book is a wonderful story of adventure, spirituality and coming-of-age set against Kipling's backdrop of India. I always enjoy it each time I re-read it.
  • (5/5)
    [Kim] by [[Rudyard Kipling]] I first read this book about 40 years ago in my teens. I found it confusing and hard to understand: Kipling used dialect and a lot of Indian and British vocabulary. I also was more focused on plot than the descriptive sections.Forty years later I read it again and thought it was one of the best books I've read all year. It is a "coming of age" yarn, with deep background on British ruled India, the relationships between various Indian cultures, and the ruling British. For the 21st century American reader, what is striking about Kim's tale is how little material benefits are considered valuable; rather, it is the quality of one's work that is prized by the British and the Indians alike. There is no political correctness in the book: various cultures strengths and weaknesses are depicted and the English do not come out as the most noble of the group. That is all background. For the plot, Kim, an Irish solder's orphan (Kimball O'Hara), lives on the streets of India, passing as a Indian. What may be missed by Americans is that at the time, this was rather counter cultural of Kipling to make the hero an Irish lad. Kim's nickname is "Friend of All the World", for he befriends all, but is taken in by none. Then he gets involved in intelligence work with the British foreign service while accompanying an aged Tibetan lama.By all means read this book, and enjoy it.