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The Light That Failed

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  580 Ratings  ·  55 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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(showing 1-30 of 1,125)
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Aug 21, 2014 Wanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
19 AUG 2014 -- recommended to me by Cheryl, Dagny, and Karen while reading The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason (find it here, among lots of other places on the web --

A free download of The Light That Failed may be found:

Chap. 1 -- opening sentences --

'WHAT do you think she'd do if she caught us? We oughtn't to have it, you know,' said Maisie.
'Beat me, and lock you up in your bedroom,' Dick answered, without hesitation. 'H
Erik Graff
Jul 12, 2011 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 06, 2015 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
This is a story about two friends Dick and Maisie who drift apart from each other after one of the friends leave to go to Paris to go to school. They reunite ten years later both working as artists. One is a war artist and the other one is studying under the teacher Kami, a teacher Dick had learned his craft from for ten years. Will the two friends continue to be friends or will Dick's romantic feelings end their friendship? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was my first ever read by Rudyar
May 23, 2012 Wanda rated it really liked it
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
May 07, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 07, 2008 Philip rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
Robin Hobb
Mar 13, 2014 Robin Hobb rated it really liked it
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.
Kilian Metcalf
Oct 24, 2015 Kilian Metcalf rated it liked it
Not one of Kipling's best IMHO, this sentimental story of a wounded war correspondent turned artist tugs at our heartstrings with the pathos of his losing his eyesight as he paints his magnum opus. Very much a story of his time, it has some limited appeal due to Kipling's gift of describing the inner workings of the hero's mind in the exotic setting of the English Raj at the height of its glory
Noah Diewald
Sep 14, 2009 Noah Diewald rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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.
Mar 15, 2013 Erskine rated it it was ok
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.
Nicoleta Vasile
It was a nice try for Kipling to write something different, but no more than that.
Simon Mcleish
Sep 18, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
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
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
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
Apr 11, 2014 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 09, 2009 Mazel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman
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
Jul 16, 2012 Lucy rated it it was amazing
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
Dmitry Demidov
Jun 10, 2015 Dmitry Demidov rated it liked it
Не очень понравилось. Особенно первая половина. Очень сумбурно и не было ощущения реальности происходящего. Постепенно темп повествования замедляется и становится проще читать, но к концу снова галоп.
Думаю, виноват перевод.
Начал рассказы - интересно и гораздо лучше читаются.
Jan 28, 2016 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally mixed feelings on this one. Hard to get through. Couldn't understand the artistic temperament. Character interactions drove me crazy. Couldn't not read it.
End was heart-breaking but triumphant, too.
Luke Heath
Oct 14, 2015 Luke Heath rated it really liked it
Tragic. A little slow at first and hard to connect with the characters. A great read though especially as Dick has to always fight to be accepted by his peers
James Willey
Jan 29, 2016 James Willey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Felt the need to read a classic, or something by a classic author. Found it hard to read partly due to dated prose but mostly due to lake of engaging story.
Jan 26, 2015 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mexico
Such an easy read and such a sad at times unusual story. I think this was my first kipling. May have read some many years ago. Will look for some more now
Aug 10, 2014 Laura marked it as to-read
Recommended to Laura by: Karen
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
Jun 27, 2012 Chuck rated it liked it
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
Jul 05, 2008 Bill rated it really liked it
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.
May 09, 2014 Dorien rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Interesting story, lots of funny lines, and beautiful prose on almost every page.
Dec 26, 2012 Weiss rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 23, 2011 Simon Katz rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 22, 2013 Talbot Hook rated it it was amazing
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
May 30, 2013 James Wallis rated it liked it
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.
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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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