I'm glad that I can say I've read something by Rudyard Kipling because I see why his books classify as "classics." The language he uses to conjure up scenes of colonial India is both beautiful and clear, making this an easy and interesting read. Even though I had no prior knowledge of India's culture, Kipling managed to convey the subtle nuances of conversation in multiple languages while stile making the text accessible to today's reader.
Kim was clever and interesting to read about. I think my favorite character was his lama, who seemed either (or both...) crazy or extremely devout. Just as a sidenote- I've been reading some interesting books lately that link up fasting and other religious sacrificial practices with hallucination, which is a really interesting thought. I noticed that the lama had been fasting and wandering around for two days before finally finding his "River of the Arrow," which I think might be a little tongue-in-cheek reminder from Kipling about "miracles." Anyway, back to the lama- his friendship with Kim was portrayed in a deep, moving way and I really sensed a father/son bond between them, while the bond Kim shared with Muhdib (the horse-seller) was almost more brotherly.
There were a lot of passages in this book concerning a woman's place in society, and I think all the older women who ignored veiling protocol were humorous, but also exemplary of the upcoming social battles of women rights. At the same time, the older woman who helps Kim and his lama time after time was also portrayed in a facetious, joking manner because she fit the stereotypical woman: likes to please through cooking, talks too much, and focuses on worthless charms that might help procure sons. I'm not sure what Kipling was trying to say in regards to women in society, but I intend on researching that later, as I also want to read more of his works. (The Jungle Book, in particular.)