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A white youth in India, becomes friends with an old ascetic priest, the lama. The boy juggles Imperialist life with his spiritual bond to the lama, who searches for redemption from the Wheel of Life. Kim captures the opulence of India's exotic landscape, overlaid by the uneasy presence of the British Raj.
I first read this book when I was ten years old and have read it again and again over the years. (That's been 62 years of reading Kim.) It is, in fact, possibly my favorite novel. At first I read it because it has an exciting plot, a spy novel, in effect; very enticing for a kid. As an adult, the political climate of those times became clear to me and was an invaluable help to my history studies in high school and college. Kim is a boy whose parents are Irish but they both die when he is young and from his earliest years he is brought up as a native of the poorest caste. He knows Indian culture of the streets through and through and he has some most interesting acquaintances. He befriends an aged Tibetan lama and following the lama on his quest for a sacred river becomes both Kim's raison d'etre and the framework for the plot. Rudyard Kipling's politics have been sneered at in the last 50 years because they are no longer politcally correct but I feel they should be viewed as of the time in which he lived. From his novels and poetry, one feels that Kipling loved and respected the native peoples of India and did not feel superior to them in the way that most English did at that time. He was, however, very loyal to his own native country of England, whatever its politics. I highly recommend this book for both children and adults.--Submitted by Motibutton
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