GROUP READ -- KIM by Rudyard Kipling (SPOILERS)

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GROUP READ -- KIM by Rudyard Kipling (SPOILERS)

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Mrz. 17, 2012, 1:22pm

Here is a spoilers thread for KIM.

Mrz. 17, 2012, 2:15pm

I finished Kim this morning and have very mixed feelings about it. I don't usually get lost in books but found myself getting lost in this one and often several times per page! It was a slow read for me as I had to keep rereading sections, referring to the notes at the back of the book and struggling over parts of the language and what it all meant.

Apart from all that I did like the story and some of the characters, in particular Kim and the Lama.

My main query is that I did not think there was enough struggle between Kim's secret service ideas and desires and the concept of him following and learning from the lama and caring for him so greatly. The two sides are so opposed and it was not always clear to me which side he was really on. I guess that might have been the point, Kims struggle with who he is and what he believes.

I am pleased to be done the book as it did drag and I am sure I could have gotten a lot more from the book but it might take more knowledge of the time and place.

Would I recommend it to others? Perhaps with a warning or two before a gentle nudge.

Mrz. 18, 2012, 4:46am

I decided to read Kim, too. I found it a really well-written book and I really enjoyed the journey. The language and the way some words were written took some getting used to and a dictionary on occasion. Perhaps the language was more familiar to readers when the novel was contemporary.

I would recommend it to others. The world was totally engrossing. The journey, more than the plot, was intriguing to me. A great coming of age/finding your true path book which brought to life a unique experience, setting, and time in history.

I enjoyed most of the characters in the book and think it is still stands the test of time, mainly because it seems like such a unique book.

Mrz. 19, 2012, 1:42pm

It's over. I finished it. That seems a let down.

I quite understand that people who haven't read a lot of books on the British Raj would have trouble with the language, but that is part of the immersion for those of us who do have the background.

Mrz. 21, 2012, 8:28am

Yeah, I had no problem with the language...but I was a little confused about the contrast between Kim's spy side and his priest side. I'm not sure what Kipling was trying to say with that. I AM happy that the lama found his river (I was beginning to doubt he would!), but I'm confused whether Kim was supposed to get cleansed of all his sins at the end, and then continue working as a spy? Perhaps I should re-read the end!

Mrz. 26, 2012, 10:57pm

Kim isn't my favorite out of Kiplings books, but I did like revisiting this story. I had forgotten how much Kim loved his lama, about how they both loved each other, and that, more than anything else in this story is what I am taking away this time. After previous reads I have been inspired to learn how to cook curries (right down to the flat breads and 'conserves'), and read up on the doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism as well as learn about Buddha. Incidently my dinner last night was roti stuffed with curried potatoes and chickpeas, and peach chutney put on top...yum! And just for fun I watched the 1950 version of Kim with Errol Flynn. I've never seen it all the way through before and despite the alterations from the book, it was not too far from the story.
All of those distractions aside, I saw Kim differently this time, and had a better understanding of what the story was about (though subsequent readings no doubt will have different interpretations). My interest this time was placed on how Kim had managed to make a family of his own, after being alone, and to what lengths he went to, for his 'friends/family'. And also how awful it was for grown men to use a young boy like that (including his beloved lama). But that is just the 'grown-up' in me... I guess that a twelve-year-old boy would think it a great adventure.

Mai 3, 2012, 10:56am

I finally finished the book last night. It was a slow read, but I'm glad I stuck it out. Overall, I thought it was a wonderful story, but page-by-page was tough going. The language was hard, and I had trouble following the conversations and, especially, the British intrigues.

Was it just the literature of the time, or was it the reality of the time, that allowed a young boy to be so free in the world and able to interact freely with adults? I think the British "used" him only after he display an aptitude for espionage. What would have happened to him if he had been less capable in that arena? I never had a clear understanding for Kim's true affections - he loved the lama, but was he truly devoted to him and willing to be taught the intricacies of Buddhism? Was he really loyal to the English, or was that just an adventure? I always had the feeling that he just enjoyed being wanted by everyone - which would be consistent with modern teens as well.

Mai 3, 2012, 11:50am

I think he was truly devoted to the lama, but I doubt he was devoted to Buddhism. And I think the English were just an adventure. He didn't REALLY seem to care.

Mai 3, 2012, 12:09pm

That was kind of my take on it, too. I wonder what a sequel would have revealed about Kim's life.