I have been considering doing this book for DCIB Book Club for ages. I’ve avoided it because a) Kipling was a colonist, and b) the book is slightly long for a book club pick. But I’ve decided we are smart enough to deal with the complications of Kipling’s relationship to India, and I’ll just break it into 3 parts.
Kipling! He was born in India to British parents, scholars not government officials, and he loved India. But it made him sick so he was sent away as a small boy, back to Britain. He tried to come back as an adult, got sick again, went away again. And Kim is his love letter to his home from which he is forever exiled.
(This was his house in Bombay. Nice, isn’t it?)
Yes, the book has lots of “good British” characters, but it also embraces all the complexities of Indian society and Indian people. Most of all, the central relationship is a unique and uniquely beautiful love story between a mentor and student. That’s what I love about this book, which is beyond the setting and all the Orientalist details. It’s a special lovely story that is about believing what you believe and being who you are and meeting across the boundaries with love. Oh, and it was Nehru’s favorite book.
It’s available for free basically everywhere, should be in most public libraries, and can be ordered for a low price if you want to buy it. Below is the link for the free text:
I wanna give everyone time to read the whole thing, so I’m gonna break it into 3 parts.
November 13th, Chapters 1 through 5
November 20th, Chapters 5 through 10
November 27, Chapters 11 through 15
Woot! BOOK CLUB! See you a week from Sunday for our first discussion, with an open mind and awareness of historical perspective!
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I wonder if I can find my paperback copy with the cover falling off . . .