Sunday, August 24, 2014

Kim by Rudyard Kipling

By my personal star rating system a five star book represents a book I will read again. Rudyard Kipling's Kim is ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ by that measurement.

Continuing with my Project Gutenberg - Rudyard Kipling binge I just finished Kim. A lot of things have happened since I last read Kim: the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA support of Pakistan's ISI cat's paw the Taliban, successful attacks on the World Trade Center, the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, and you get the picture. A lot of things have happened. And these things have given me a better idea of the forces Kipling writes about in Kim. It's all there: the Afghans, the Russians, the British (in place of the US), the spies, the machinations, and the religions. I'll have to re-read Kim just to review the teachings of Teshoo Lama, the Tibetan lama.

Kim is another coming of age story (Looks like Kipling enjoyed that type story.) This time it is Kimball "Kim" O'Hara, the orphan son of an Irish soldier raised in the native streets of Lahore. Kim is the Roy Hobbs of British India spies, a master of disinformation, stealth, and self preservation at an early age. We follow his recruitment and training into the profession. But for me the real story in Kim is the relationship between Teshoo Lama and Kim. They are like a Crosby and Hope road picture, laughs, gaffes, misadventures and ultimately enlightenment. (Don't ask in which film Crosby and Hope were enlightened, but I always was.)

Let me quote myself here , “So why might I read (Kim) again? Kipling is a good story teller. That point can not be undersold. The people in the story are full of life. The scenery (the Indian plains, the mountains, the Grand Trunk, the trains ) is majestic and powerful. The dialects are fun. And the histories of the men are appealing.” And I will repeat myself, I want to re-read the teachings of Teshoo Lama. I think there is much to learn there.

George W. Parker