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Tuesday, May 24, 2011


(MS Paint is fun.  Feel free to copy
and use this if you'd like; it's mine.)
I thought I might approach this chapter with a little positivity for a change.  Forget discussion questions and all their frustration.  I am, instead, going to list the literary moments—the little nuggets—of good, great, or excellent wit and sentence craft I encounter.  Indeed, there have been many such moments (as long as you don’t compare that number to the overall word count, of course).  Let's see what we get in chapter thirteen.
  • "...drew a deep double-lungful of the diamond air...."
  • "All day long they lay like molten silver under the sun, and at evening put on their jewels again."
  • "...he mourned aloud that he could not have been in the place of the stubborn, inattentive coolies, who with grass mats over their heads and the raindrops puddling in their foot-prints, waited on the weather."
  • "He discoursed of botany and ethnology with unimpeachable inaccuracy, and his store of local legends—he had been a trusted agent of the State for fifteen years, remember—was inexhaustible."
  • "There are more ways of getting to a sweetheart than butting down a wall."
  • "...Kim hurried upward through the gloom, swearing like a cat...."
  • And that’s it.  The end.  Of the chapter.  Not the book.  Sorry if I got your hopes up there.

If there is someone out there, anywhere, through the vast reaches of the ether and who loves this book, Kim, please tell me where I'm going wrong!  I wonder if it's possible that some personal prejudice is getting in my way and if so what I might do to right it.  My problem is that I see nearly no narrative skill in this book—with the English language, sure, but that’s a different animal.  Here in chapter thirteen, for example, there's a spot of violence.  It lasts a paragraph.  And don’t get me wrong, this is not to say I crave or require violence from the stories I read, but the moment here in Kim got my hopes up that maybe, just maybe, something interesting was about to happen or was in the process of happening.  And I think it was.  And that’s my point!  Even when something cool is happening, we don’t get to read about it!  Some pages later it's even mentioned that the "war was breaking out afresh," but there's no narrative evidence save shoddy dialog.  Is it but a cultural thing?  Am I, a 21st century American to far distant—in geography and time—from the events to get them?  I think I’m actually a pretty good—even skilled—reader.  I am frustrated!  This book is defeating me.


  1. I think it's "Kim," not you. It would be cool to find someone who liked this book, though. Clearly someone must. Unless it just got haloed in as great with all the other Kipling works.

  2. I wish that I could "Like" that comment. I really expected that this book would be quite good. I don't know what happened.

  3. I just remember to delete "Kim" from my BOOKS ON RECOMMENDATION slide show.

    And I need to try and figure out how (if possible even) to put a like button on comments. I know how to do it on posts, but that's different.


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