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I had never read or auditioned anything by Kipling before and my primary exposure to his body of work had been through children's stories, and those through film adaptations. I was drawn to "Kim" because of its role as an early espionage tale. Other than that, and the fact that it was set in India during the time of the British Empire, I really did not know what to expect.
"Kim" turns out to be a fantastically detailed and absorbing tale. An adage of creative writing is to use details to make a story come alive. "Kim" manages to be a veritable riot of narrative details, yet without it seeming studied or forced. Kipling rather seemed to have been simply observing carefully a land and a people ("peoples," really) rich in beauty, mystique, danger, and social complexity. All the elements of a great yarn are here: danger, love, ambition, intrigue, adventure, and so on, so it satisfies as mere genre fiction, but it is more than that. The characters in this novel grow and change, look inward and outward, think, fear, hope, laugh and cry, and we do all those things with them along the way. I was completely transported by it. I absolutely loved this book and was sorry when it ended.
The narration was equally superb. There are many characters of different cultures in the tale and Simon Vance brought each of them alive. The whole thing is just splendid.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
What a book. From start to finish it is a great read and full of action and suspense. Simon Vance does an incredible job, as usual, to bring the book to life