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Thursday, May 26, 2011


Today just a few thoughts as I finish out the book and muse over the past several weeks:
  1. I've read most of Kipling's Just So Stories and quite a lot of his poetry.  While I enjoy the Stories, I can't say the same for Kim.  The stories, obviously, are short format, much like poetry, really, and the poems--if you doubt it just read the introductory verses to each chapter of Kim--are far superior to anything of the text that follows each, except possibly chapter 9.
  2. Notice the use of present tense--inconsistent, though it is--in the beginning of this chapter.  If I remember correctly, this is the first  in the book.  Does it do anything, in your opinion, to benefit the story--er, the story's narration?
  3. Considering the unilateral focus on finding the River of the Arrow here in the last chapter, I wonder if the entire middle of the book (because Kim's literal finding of the Red Bull on the Green Field seems to have nothing to do with anything, least of all his life--and this by fault of the narrative, not Kim or the soldiers of the Red Bull unit) is not dissimilar, other than its exceedingly length, from Shakespeare's induction stories, giving context to what's after (and before, in this case).  (Check James Smith's unmoderatedcaucus.blogspot.com for further discussion.)
  4. Of course it makes sense that the Lama is dying as we approach the end of the book (almost makes me wish he had in the end--not because I don't like him, but so we could have something happen), and as death is an end, perhaps the book--or the story--too is dying, though if we follow that comparison the other way round, then the Lama would have died sometime shortly after the third chapter of so.
  5. I'm going to ask this with deliberate obtuseness: do Kim and the Lama have to find the River to find the River?  How do you feel about the fact that they do, supposedly, find it in its tangible, physical iteration?
  6. Has the story improved--even if insufficiently--in these final two chapters?
  7. Further proof that Kipling likes to narrate what no one wants to read and bypass what might actually prove interesting: The Lama found the River of the Arrow, and we didn't even get to watch him do it!  I feel robbed!  Further, look at all that happens in this chapter.  We read and read and don't read anything and then hear that Kim is sick, sick, and he's got someone tending him, and there are momentous occurrences while he's out aside from his massage.  I've never read someone (save perhaps myself) who could say so little with so many words!
  8. And the ending could have been just fantastic--even redemptive.  Look back at what Kim's journey was until he and the Lama came to the River.  The story--the STORY--is good; the narration is ABYSMAL.
  9. And now that I'm done with this book, I am tired.  Tired.  Tired.


  1. 2. No, it just makes it seem like typical spy novel boilerplate. Blah.
    3. There has to be more to the red bull than this, right? At the end of the book, I was mentally screaming, "BUT WHAT IS THE RED BULL!?!?!?!?" Red bull=red herring?
    5. Eh, we needed closure on this, I think. Otherwise, the book seems even more pointless. That being said, very large amount of deus ex machina here.
    6. I thought that this chapter was sort of good. At least now, we understand that the book is about whether Kim is going to be a thug or a priest.
    7. True. All of it. Without exception.
    8. I know. I can at least see why people think that this is a "great" story. But it's not a great book. More to come when I get home and have a decent Interwebs connection.

  2. 2. And it just gives reinforcement to the notion that this entire novel never made it past rough draft. If he's going to use this "tool" why not do it right? Why not add some consistency to it? Why not use it throughout the book. This could have actually been a really good boiler plate spy novel if it had been one the entire time. Kipling didn't seem to know what this novel was supposed to be.
    3. This just made me angry. How could it really just be that stupid flag? Did he think that was enough? It was a huge deal at the beginning and now???
    5. But, again, the way he did it.... Would it have mattered, really (and considering the rest of the shoddy context), if Kim woke up and the Lama said, "Oh, by the way, I found the River. It was IN MY MIND! Care to join me there? I'll draw a picture!"
    6. But we didn't know it UNTIL NOW!
    7. (with faux whininess) Even the self-deprecating parenthetical aside????
    8. I'm so glad it's done.

    <~end comment of a million punctuation marks.>


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