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With a new Introduction by Cedric Watts, Research Professor of English, University of Sussex.
Kim is Rudyard Kipling’s finest work. Now controversial, this novel is a memorably vivid evocation of the life and landscapes of India in the late nineteenth century. Kim himself is a resourceful lad who befriends a lama, an ageing priest; and both embark on a combined quest. Whereas Kim has an insatiable interest in the varied activities around him, the lama seeks redemption from the ‘Wheel of Life’. Kim becomes involved in the ‘Great Game&rsquo:, undertaking espionage for the British rulers.
This engrossing and moving novel, with its diversity of memorable characters, offers many insights into political, religious and social tensions.
In this book Rudyard Kipling gave us a better understanding of nineteenth century India under British rule, as well as the first modern spy. This book depicts Indian culture also but it cannot be taken as pure historical context. It was published in 1901. That does not mean that it is not a good read now. “Kim” is a unique story about Kim, a young European boy who lost his parents at the age of thirteen. His father was an Irish soldier. He is growing up on the streets of Indian city. Description of his life in India under British raj is described. The main part of the novel, however, Kim's relationship with the Red Lama, who is on a pilgrimage who is in search of a holy river which he thinks will wash his sins away. Kim acts as a guide for Lama on his quest. Along the way, he has a chance encounter with his deceased father's old army regiment and his identity is revealed. The army sends him to a prestigious English language Catholic school in the south and then Kim joins British spy team in the great game. He then rejoins the lama on his quest. The Great Game provides the backbone to the plot and action sequences. Kipling’s writing is effective and powerful. This book gives Kipling’s inside thoughts for India. Kim is much easier reading than the novels of many of Kipling's contemporaries. This is the best classic ever by Rudyard Kipling.