Rudyard Kipling's "Kim "is the tale of an Irish orphan raised as an Indian vagabond on the rough streets of colonial Lahore. Young Kimball O Hara's coming of age takes place in a world of high adventure, mystic quests, and secret games of espionage played out between the Russians and the British in the mountain passages of Asia. Kim is torn between his allegiance to the ascetic lama who becomes his beloved mentor and the temptations of those who want to recruit him as a spy in the great game of imperial conflict. In a series of thrilling escapades, he crisscrosses India on missions both spiritual and military before the two forces in his life converge in a dramatic climax in the high Himalayas.
Published in 1901, after its author had permanently moved away from India, Kipling's masterpiece is marked by a maturity of perspective on the land of his birth, combined with breathtakingly brilliant descriptions of the fascinating lost world of the British Raj. "Kim "has enthralled generations of readers both by the exuberance of its storytelling and its vital and unforgettable portrait of the India of bazaars and sacred rivers, holy men and rogues, ancient customs and colonial society.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
About the Author
Rudyard Joseph Kipling was born in the then named Bombay, India on 30th December 1865. Aged six, he was sent to England to be educated, firstly in Southsea, where he was cared for in a foster home, and later at Westward Ho, a United Services College in Devon. A life of misery at the former was described in his story 'Baa Baa Black Sheep', whilst Westward Ho was used as a basis for his questioning the public school ethic in 'Stalky and Co'. Kipling returned to India in 1882 to work as an assistant editor for the Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore. His reputation as a writer was established with stories of English life in India, published there in 1888/9. The Phantom Rickshaw, Soldiers Three and Under the Deodars are amongst these early works. Returning to England in 1889, Kipling settled in London and continued to earn a living as a writer. In 1892 he married Caroline Balestier, an American. They travelled extensively in the following four years, including a spell living in America, and it was in this time most of his enduring work was written, not least The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book . Kipling once again returned to England in 1896 and continued his writing career, although tragedy hit the family when his eldest daughter, Josephine, died in 1899. Nonetheless, in 1901 he completed Kim, often considered to be his best work. The following year, having settled in Sussex, he published Just So Stories, a book he had planned to write for Josephine. Having refused the position of Poet Laureate, which was offered in 1895, he did accept the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the first English author to be so honoured. By 1910, however, Kipling s appeal was waning. His poems and stories were based on values that were perceived as outdated. There was widespread reaction against Victorian imperialism, highlighted by the incompetent management of the Boer War. When World War I came, Kipling had difficulty in adapting to the mood of the public and after his only son, John, was reported missing in action believed killed in 1915, he became very active on the War Graves Commission. After the war he became an increasingly isolated figure, although some of his best writing was to come, with Debits and Credits in 1926 and Limits and Renewals in 1932. Kipling died in 1936 in London and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Today, however, he is once again avidly read not just for the quality of his writing and storytelling, but through a renewed interest in the behaviour and values he represented.
Born in India in 1925, John Bayley was educated at Eton and Oxford. He became a fellow of New College in 1955, where he taught English. In 1956, he married the novelist Iris Murdoch, who was then teaching philosophy at St. Anne's College. Bayley is an eminent literary critic and the author of Iris and Her Friends and Elegy for Iris. He has since remarried. A regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and an active supporter of Alzheimer's International, Bayley still lives and writes in Oxford, England.
John Bayley is an eminent literary critic who taught at Oxford for more than 30 years, and was chairman of the Booker Prize Committee. Iris Murdoch died in February of 1999.
“A work of positive genius, as radiant all over with intellectual light as the sky of a frosty night
—The Atlantic Monthly