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3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  24,545 Ratings  ·  1,183 Reviews
Kim is set in an imperialistic world; a world strikingly masculine, dominated by travel, trade and adventure, a world in which there is no question of the division between white and non-white.

Two men - a boy who grows into early manhood and an old ascetic priest, the lama - are at the center of the novel. A quest faces them both. Born in India, Kim is nevertheless white, a
Mass Market Paperback, 366 pages
Published 1981 by Penguin Classics (first published 1901)
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Kenneth Miller hypnotism. But Kim has a strong mind and Lurgan Sahib is unable to influence Kim's mind to make him see what he suggests. Kim grounds himself in…morehypnotism. But Kim has a strong mind and Lurgan Sahib is unable to influence Kim's mind to make him see what he suggests. Kim grounds himself in reality.
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Henry Avila
Apr 13, 2015 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kim , 13, a lonely, British orphan boy, born in India, his widowed father, was in Queen Victoria's army, but he died, a hopeless, pathetic, drunk. Kim's full name is Kimball O'Hara, the poorest of the poor, who lives mostly, in the slum streets of Lahore, the Punjab (now part of Pakistan). Sometimes the child, stays with an old Indian woman, addicted to opium, naturally, he prefers the outside, begging for money, trying to stay alive and surviving, day to day... Later meeting a strange Lama, fro ...more
Dec 03, 2008 Laurie rated it it was amazing
Kim served as inspiration for my novel "The Game", the seventh entry in the Mary Russell series. Feel free to come and join in the discussion, even if you come across this after December has passed--the discussion will remain open indefinitely for new thoughts and comments. Click for more information about the Virtual Book Club

Oh, this is such a wonderful book. Coming-of-age tale and historical treatise; spy thriller and travel narrative; rousing adventure coupled with a sleek and subtle tale
This coming of age tale had a lot of charm in many spots, but too often was a bit slow for my tastes. Kim O’Hara is a 12-year old orphan in Lahore in the 1850’s, child of an Irish soldier and Indian mother. Despite the loss of both parents he thrives well as a street urchin, always finding a way to make himself useful to community members or to engage sympathy from strangers and thus able to earn or beg his daily keep. His life opens up when he assists a Tibetan lama on a pilgrimage and joins hi ...more
“There is no sin so great as ignorance. Remember this.”
― Rudyard Kipling, Kim


This is one of those novels that I read and instantly regreted not reading earlier when I was a boy. I was able, however, to experience reading this with my two kids (one boy 12; one girl 11). It was perfect. I wandered into it expecting a well-written, more or less Empire-centric Colonial novel. It was way more than that. I get the whole Postcolonial Lit thing, but I'm not ready to abandon Kim to this debate or even t
While it is one of the most beautiful tales of friendship I have ever read, Kim is much more. Rudyard Kipling created in Kim a novel in the mold of the classic heroic journey that has a pedigree reaching back to Gilgamesh and the Odyssey. With Kim, a young white boy, sahib, at it's center and his friend and mentor the Lama, we see the world of India in the nineteenth century as it is ruled by Great Britain. The story unfolds against the backdrop of The Great Game, the political conflict between ...more
Riku Sayuj
Single Quote Review:

It was all there in Kipling, barring the epilogue of the Indian inheritance. A journey to India was not really necessary. No writer was more honest or accurate; no writer was more revealing of himself and his society. He has left us Anglo-India; to people these relics of the Raj we have only to read him.

We find a people conscious of their roles, conscious of their power and separateness, yet at the same time fearful of expressing their delight at their situation: they are a
Mar 17, 2016 Apatt rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
“We'd go down to the river
And into the river we'd dive
Oh down to the river we'd ride”

That’s Bruce Springsteen, not Rudyard Kipling. All the mentions of The River just reminds me of this song.

So Kim is all about the adventures of a young Irish boy, Kimball O'Hara, in British colonial India. Kim starts off as a Tom Sawyer-ish, or Bart Simpson-esq, little scamp. One day he encounters an elderly Tibetan Lama and volunteers to become his disciple in order to go adventuring on the monk’s pilgrimage
Aug 08, 2012 Melissa rated it did not like it
You know those books that you know from the very first page, you’re going to love it… this wasn’t that. You know those other books that start out slow and it takes you awhile, but soon you find yourself hooked? Nope, this was not one of those either.

In fact, I made it through the entire book without every really feeling invested in any way, shape or form. I persevered only because I started it a few months ago and gave it up, then restarted it, convinced I’d get through it. It’s one of Kipling’
Benjamin Duffy
Sep 18, 2015 Benjamin Duffy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
One of the best books I've ever read, and one that I'm sure will stick with me for a long, long time. Not to say it's always an easy book. For one, it's pretty colonial-feeling, what with its fondness for dropping the n-word on anyone browner than an Englishman, its blithe references to sneaky, inconstant "orientals," and so forth - so much so that it's distracting and jarring in a few places. As a 21st century reader, it took me some mental effort to get past that casual matter-of-fact racist l ...more
May 27, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

Even though I share the name of the hero of this novel, I've chosen not to read it until now. There's more than one reason for this. The main reason is that I'm not naturally drawn to picaresque novels or to espionage novels, even though I've read my fair share of books from both genres. I've also had an instinctively negative reaction to Kipling because of my not terribly well-informed view of him as an apologist for British imperialism.

However, in the last few days I've started reading the se
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-novels
It’s been a long time since I’ve graduated law school, a longer time for college, and a million years (give or take a year) since high school. That means it’s been a long time since I’ve been forced to read a particular book.

I’ve always loved to read. And I’ve always hated assigned reading. I’ve despised books I’d otherwise enjoy simply because I’m told to read it on a deadline and feel a particular intellectual response.

So, ever since my last diploma, I’ve been reading whatever I want. If you
Apr 20, 2015 Chrissie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Kim
ETA: Ooops, I misspelled lama, using instead the spelling for the fuzzy animal sort, which IS spelled llama! ;0) Thanks Kim for telling me!

You CAN listen to a Librivox audiobook in the car. I have now discovered that you should click on the download buttons found next to each chapter visible in the Librivox app. You must click on all of them. If you don't click on each chapter's download button, you need wifi to listen when using the app. In the car you also must use an AUX jack. Leslie and Greg
Jim Coughenour
Feb 10, 2013 Jim Coughenour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: justforfun, classics
Not for the first time – I was lucky enough to overstep (almost by accident) some stray prejudice and discover how wrong I was. For most of my life Kipling has been the onerous author of "If" – a poem I was forced to recite as a boy and which still makes me shudder. Of course I've known of his other books, including Kim, which I regarded as surviving in a dubious space somewhere between Disney and Edward Said's condemned Orientalists. It was only after making my way through Peter Hopkirk's The G ...more
J.G. Keely
Sep 04, 2013 J.G. Keely rated it really liked it
As I said of another classic adventure story of The Great Game, the East is a fantasy. This is not only true for writers like Mundy, who experienced it as an outsider, or Howard, who experienced it only through books--it's also true for those who, like Kipling, were born and raised there.

Indeed, many of our most cherished fantasies tend to relate to the place we were born--when we find ourselves defending it, or singing its praises. It's not that the details we give aren't true, it's that we hav
Jan 30, 2011 Brian rated it it was amazing
Kim, or Kimball O’ Hara, is a British boy who has grown up on the streets of Lahore at the height of British rule in India. He lives like a native Indian, speaks Hindi fluently and knows the city like the back of his hand. Immensely street-wise, he makes a living by carrying messages for all kinds of people including an Afghan horse-dealer called Mahbub Ali who is himself involved in espionage on behalf of the British government. Kim’s ability to be part of more than one community makes him a pe ...more
Chris and Yuri
Sep 02, 2008 Chris and Yuri rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chris and Yuri by: Edward Said
"This is a great and terrible world. I never knew there were so many men alive in it."

This is one of those books at the center of the academic street fight known as postcolonial studies. On one hand, Rudyard Kipling was a great (and Nobel Prize-winning) writer; on the other hand, he was an unabashed cheerleader of British and American imperialism. I wanted to read Kim, in fact, because Edward Said had so much to say about it (both good and bad) in Culture and Imperialism.

Politics aside, though,
Jul 11, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
I tried to read Kim a while back and didn’t get very far. For some reason (perhaps I was just distracted) I couldn’t get into it. The first quarter of the book requires patience. Kipling employs a very direct, pared down sort of narration that can be a bit jarring at first. Novelty is thrown at you very casually and often in high quantities. The full richness of 19th Century India is spread out and unfolded in this narrative in a colossal effort of description. I have no idea how Kipling managed ...more
So let's just put on the back burner the fact that Kipling was a real a-hole in real life. He was, but I'm here to discuss his writing so that's what I'll do.

The title character, Kim, is not indeed Indian. That was the biggest preconceived notion I had. He was not Indian. He was the orphan son of an Irish soldier who had been stationed outside of India, and a poor woman. Kim lives a life similar to one as seen in the Disney version of Aladdin (now I'm really mixing things up) - begging, doing od
I decided that before reading Laurie R. King's The Game again, I should read Rudyard Kipling's Kim, as King calls The Game "a humble and profoundly felt homage" to Kim. Besides, I'd never read it, and it's one of those classics I felt I should get around to someday.

Kimball O'Hara is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier who was stationed in India; when his father died, Kim was raised by a half-caste woman and learned to live on the streets of Lahore. The story begins when Kim meets a Tibetan lam
Jason Pettus
Nov 08, 2010 Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #51: Kim (1901), by Rudyard Kipling

The story in a nutshell:
Rudyard Kipling has taken a big hit in reputation since the rise of Postmodernism in the post-colonia
Mar 22, 2009 Anne rated it really liked it
I had a bit of trouble focusing, especially at the beginning of the book because of the language style. It picked up around page 75 or so. The ending was a bit anticlimactic, but the book itself was fantastic and hilarious. I don't really understand how Kipling is portrayed today as an imperial jingoist - if anything, he has far more of a "people are people" approach than anyone I've read of his era and probably most contemporary writers. The gist of everything is that people are people and Indi ...more
This was as strange book for me.
I had looked forward to reading it (perhaps too much) due to its popularity amongst people who are friends and those whose reviews I follow. My enjoyment of the book changed a number of times throughout my reading of it - which took me a bit longer than normal, as I fitted another book or two in between - at those times I wasn't loving it.

Ultimately I enjoyed it a lot. A couple of times on the way I just found myself confused about what was going on, but not motiv
Aug 26, 2014 Rachel rated it did not like it
Shelves: meh, tw-racism, classics
I read my textbooks by counting the number of pages in a given section - say cardiac pathology - and dividing them up by the number of days I have to read them. I did the same with Kim, which says it all really.

(view spoiler)
Jan 15, 2012 Mitch rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Well- I'm glad I finally read this since I've heard about it so many years, but I frankly liked the Jungle Books much better.

One weakness is Kipling's extensive use of Indian place-names, Hindu terminology and phrases that require regular recourse to a footnoted appendix. Yes, these things add color but also require breaking out of the story to discover it- too often.

Secondly, while Kim is an interesting character, he is a liar on a colossal scale. This is dressed up in deviousness and supposedl
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Kipling is a controversial author these days, seen as an unapologetic imperialist booster of the British Empire and even racist. Yet Indian authors such as Arundhati Roy, V.S. Naipaul and Salman Rushdie have found Kipling impressive and even influential. Kipling can be a wonderful storyteller. Rushdie has said Kipling's writing has "the power simultaneously to infuriate and to entrance."

I found that the case in both The Jungle Books and now Kim. And yes, you can see a, shall we say, very un-PC
dead letter office
Apr 23, 2008 dead letter office rated it really liked it
underneath kipling's unrepentant colonialism is a gifted storyteller and a great writer and a sympathetic observer. this is a much-better-than-you-think-it-would-be story of idiosyncratic characters who find themselves players in the Great Game, where the british empire battled the russian empire for control over central asia. it's also an interesting colonialist's-eye view of a part of the world that kipling clearly loved.
Marco Tamborrino
Feb 28, 2015 Marco Tamborrino rated it it was amazing
"Chela, hast thou never a wish to leave me?"
"No," he said almost sternly. "I am not a dog or a snake to bite when I have learned to love".

Kim non è un romanzo semplice da definire. È prima di tutto una grandissima testimonianza dell'imperialismo britannico in India, e in secondo luogo una delle più belle storie di amicizia che abbia mai letto. Il senso del romanzo sta probabilmente nell'essere ibrido di Kim: il giovane protagonista non è né bianco né nero, né inglese né indiano. Kim racchiude
Aug 18, 2016 Rosemarie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of Kim and his mentor, the lama, and their journeys through India is very enjoyable. Kim - Friend of all the World, Friend of the Stars and Keeper of the Charm is a delightful hero. His journey takes him from the Plains to the Highlands, he encounters people from all backgrounds, including
Europeans and British. His devotion to the lama is very moving and lifts the book above the level of an adventure story, but the book contains plenty of action as well.
May 17, 2016 Matt rated it liked it
This follows the life of Kim. He is a very resourceful Indian street kid, who eventually attached himself to a traveling Lama. Eventually they learn he father was Irish and in the British army. This leads to the whities taking him from the Lama and sending him to white kid school. Eventually he meets back up with the Lama and they finish their journey.

This started out really fun as Kim was constantly relying on his wiles to help out the poor traveling wise man. But once he got shipped to school
I can see why this novel is considered a classic, but reading The Jungle Books first and liking it a lot in my childhood I couldn't help thinking that Kim is another Mowgli, exploring another jungle, but without the same magic.
Or maybe, just maybe it is a question of wrong time for reading. How was that Gigliola Cinquetti's song - Non ho l'età... for I honestly have to say that, in spite of the picturesque descriptions and of some interesting characters, I was often bored with the whole story. D
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Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist.

Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888). His poems include "Mandalay" (1890), "Gunga Din" (1890), "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" (1919), "The White Man's Burden" (1899), and "If—" (1910). He is regarded as
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“There is no sin so great as ignorance. Remember this.” 82 likes
“This is a brief life, but in its brevity it offers us some splendid moments, some meaningful adventures.” 79 likes
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