The Light That Failed
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The Light That Failed

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  464 ratings  ·  44 reviews
In 1/1878 Kipling was admitted to the United Services College, at Westward Ho!, Devon, a school founded a few years earlier to prepare boys for the armed forces. The school proved rough going for him at 1st, but led to firm friendships & provided the setting for his schoolboy stories Stalky & Co. published years later. During his time there, he met & fell in lo...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Hard Press (first published 1890)
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Erik Graff
Jul 12, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Anne-Lise Graff
Shelves: literature
After seminary graduation and moving my possessions back from New York City to Illinois, I was invited to visit Norway by family there, my first visit since 1962. Most of the time I stayed with Mother in her apartment in the Majorstua neighborhood in Oslo, not far from Vigland Park.

Arriving, travelling light, I found little to read. Mom hadn't been long back in her homeland and, except for some John Jakes novels, most of her books were in Norwegian. One exception was a bunch of old Rudyard Kipli...more
Oh, the works that get passed over. Some of the greatest work of the greatest authors is ignored because it's missing some of the charm of their more popular works. Rudyard Kipling may be known best for The Jungle Book, Kim, and Captain Courageous, but he possessed a deeper observation of the world than just the adventures palatable to children. The Earth he lived on was full of failures, darkness, and pain, and any man given to the arts has the tools to express what he's seen.
The Light That Fai...more
I brought this book along with me to China because my daughter needed a procedure done because she has some problems with her optic nerve and we were going to have a lot of time in the hospital.

I got it on a whim. I love Kipling's poetry and some of his other work. When I got back to my house after buying the book at a bargain books store, I read about it on goodreads and found out that it's about a man who slowly goes blind. I thought it was very fitting that I read about a man slowly going bli...more
Noah Diewald
Ever have one of those days where everything went wrong? Nah, this book ain't about a case of the Mondays. It is about shattered dreams and shattered love, where a man who is tough and strong and vibrant just manages to get his life back on his own terms. Kipling touches all the right strings at the right time, failing to over analyze his characters he demonstrates a reaction to crisis.
A very depressing book. I read it when I was in high school. It was at a time when I was enamored of Kipling's writing, and was reading everything I could find by him. It was a major disappointment.
I assumed I wouldn't like this, just another boring, over-written 19th century novel. It was in a faded red, cloth-bound, one-volume collection of Kipling's works published by Black's Readers Service in 1928. The book was on a shelf next to the cot in the room I was staying at. I had nothing else to read and I had time with nothing to do, so I began reading, and before I knew it I was utterly drawn into the story, the world and the life it depicted. It was not boring and certainly not over-writt...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in October 2000.

One of Kipling's most interesting novels, The Light that Failed hovers on the edge of sentimentality for most of its pages, never quite slipping. Dick Heldar is an artist, who becomes successful through drawings of a war in Sudan for one of the London newspapers - this being in the days before photographs filled the newspapers. Returning to London, he begins to work as a serious artist, and re-encounters his childhood playmate, Maisie, and fal...more
Raluca Neagu
Pe Rudyard Kipling îl știam doar din cărțile lui pentru copii și cum titlul romanului mi se părea interesant, m-am gândit să îl încerc. ”Se lasă noaptea” nu m-a impresionat. Începutul a fost promițător: dragostea abia descoperită, background-ul celor doi, copilăria marcată de sărăcie, dogmă și pedepse. Toate aceste ingrediente ar fi adăugat o stea în plus cărții dacă al doilea capitol nu ar fi început ca o altă poveste.
Noaptea se lasă brusc și întrerupe misiunea lui Dick.
Cum ”regina nu poate să...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return][return]I had been looking forward to reaching this for some time, under the impression that it was an interesting step away from Kipling's usual writing. Not sure if that is really true - it was his first novel, so not sure if it can really be characterised as a step away. And it is interesting only in places; the hero's failure to get anywhere with the girl he loves is apparently painfully autobiographical, and the casual brutality is n...more
I had difficulty feeling any sympathy for Heldar when he first lost his sight because he was so arrogant & self-absorbed. The first half of the book almost made me give it up because of the shallowness of the characters. It became more interesting as Heldar began to deal with his affliction & became more introspective.

Overall, I found this book very depressing.
prix nobel de littérature 1907

Dans La lumière qui s'éteint, le lecteur trouve matière à émotions fortes : l'amour, la guerre, la mort y sont évoqués sur un fond d'exotisme qui plaît aux amateurs de romans d'aventures.

L'imaginaire et le réel y sont habilement mêlés. Le texte a le parfum de l'expérience vécue tout en faisant la part belle aux espérances irréalisées et peut-être irréalisables.

Et surtout, au terme d'une existence agitée qui connaît les sommets de la gloire et les abîmes du désesp...more
As ever, I wish the scale went to 10 stars - this is actually a 9....
Kipling was a wonderful writer. You can hear, see, feel everything he describes. This is a book with a very slight and simple plot but as profound as anything I've read. The early scenes are chilling, the later scenes heartbreaking - it's not a book to lift the spirits. If I have a reservation,it is in Kipling's seeming difficulty in drawing other than loose women: Maisie as a child is uttelry compelling, but when she reappears...more
I have to disagree with a previous reviewer, who says that this is a ''classic by default'', and found it disjointed. I found this book after many years of loving his later works, and found it superior in many ways. I adored it from the beginning, and found the pace and flow to be excellent. ai normally wouldn't like something as melodramatic as this, but somehow it doesn't coma across as ''syrupy'' as it might have done with some other authors.
I've always liked the way it cuts right down to the...more
Found this book in a pile of old books. Never read Kipling before and read this book. It was okay and was especially amused by (paraphase) - the wind was blowing down the street, it was damp, and it was cold for it was summer in England. Remember, the main character is back in London from the Sudan. The plot is exceptional in that the main character psychologically tortures a model he is painting to get the right expression of her for his masterpiece. He finishes, his sight fails, and the model...more
This is book was nothing that I thought it would be. It is really about a story of a young, aggressive, egocentric man who is a British war correspondent who specializes in drawing the war effort. He falls in love with a woman who will never reciprocate his love. Tragedy befalls the man and he is left contemplating his life, alone and forlorn. Well written but still a downer. Probably would not recommend except to the sunniest of personalities.
Interesting story, lots of funny lines, and beautiful prose on almost every page.
Robin Hobb
The Light That Failed took me into a different realm of Kipling's writing. It's the tale of an artist who draws what he sees of war, and then, as his eyesight is failing, sets out to complete his Melancholia.

I won't give any more spoilers than that, except to say that his portrayals of the friendships he experiences with both men and women are still very moving to me.
I will always like this book. Kipling didn't write enough stories like this set in England, that was the main reason I bought the book, since I like most of Kiplings work, but don't always feel like reading about exotic locations. Every sentence Kipling writes is fairly awesome, which just leaves me wishing for more common stories by him.
Simon Katz
This book is good on so many different levels. First it's just a good story. But primarily it's one of the few, and the first I ever read, where the end of the love story is NOT predictible and saccharin sweet. It's one of Kipling's lesser known works and of a higher range then what are now considered to be juvinile classics.
Talbot Hook
So, as I dislike reviews that attempt to provide a plot synopsis, I shan't go into one; what is important, however, is how evocative and affecting the book is. And, man, Kipling continues to write well. Of course, this is not one of his more well-known works, but it is poignant, well-envisioned, and sad.
James Wallis
Starts very well, but gets bogged down with its major plot twist. Some extraordinary and powerful scenes and passages but the structure is a mess, the final chapters don't seem to fit, and the whole is less than the sum of the parts. I'm glad I read it but I wouldn't go back to it.
No. It wouldn't have happened like that. I'm convinced. And usually I'm all for a nice and tidy tragedy. But this was silly and strangely posh (despite the whole starving blind artist "thing"). Two stars for the first chapter.
This was one of the first novels I read in high school. Because it was all so new it left quite an impression on me. I loved this book but i'm not sure if that's because it was so great or because it was my first.
I read this some 25 years ago, but it's a story that's stuck with me about an artist losing his eyesight after returning from war. I've always preferred Kipling's adult writings.
There were aspects of this novel which will no doubt linger, such a work so preoccupied with light and color. I felt the characters genuine albeit incomplete.
I think I like Kipling's poetry and his fantasy and far-away books better, but this was a good, unusual book for me for the first week of 2009.
not usually a brit lit fan, but this surprised me. maybe all its modern-ess is enough of a selling point. anyway, definately readable.
One of my favorite Kipling stories. Most of Kipling is better than most of what's written todays, so give it a try.
Though I love Rudyard Kipling, this was depressing and the parts about the comrades were dull.
Nicoleta Vasile
It was a nice try for Kipling to write something different, but no more than that.
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Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907 "in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author."

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