Kim, by Rudyard Kipling

I had had this book (first published 1901; I have Papermac P72 (SBN: 333 00032 3), presumably Macmillan's 1972 reprint of the St. Martin's Library edition of 1961) on my shelf, for untold years – surely at least two decades – unread, before I picked it up and began reading it. It is a delight to read – I'm split between delighting that I have saved it for now and regretting that I never read it before. I have one friend named after it and another who studied Kipling in her youth, with each of whom I should have delighted to discuss this book before and, when next I see each, surely shall.

It begins with the tale of A Lost Boy – but not one lost in never-never land or any other mythical place, one lost in the midst of Humanity, a Friend of All the World – an orphan who Has Learned all he can (which has been much) in poverty on the streets of a moderately complex city and goes adventuring, accompanying (at least initially) a fascinating and surprising wanderer. Kim is portrayed with a compassionate and faithful eye to how the world appears to The Boy, as understood by an author who (despite being a grownup) has respect for youth's ability to understand far more than most grownups dare to suppose a mere child can comprehend. Kipling tells us enough of the whorl of grown-up events in which The Boy is caught up – we learn more than he guesses, yet he guesses some of what we would not have known had Kipling not told us – that we can make sense of the whirl of events within which he gracefully navigates a path that works (for him) far better than well-meaning grown-ups (who imagine themselves to be steering him) comprehend.

Valid CSSValid HTML 5 Written by Eddy.