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3.71  ·  Rating details ·  33,933 ratings  ·  1,880 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 October 1901)
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S. Daisy I gave the book four stars. It was very good, and gives you a much deeper insight into Indian culture.

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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  33,933 ratings  ·  1,880 reviews

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Henry Avila
Mar 13, 2013 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
Michael Finocchiaro
Although somewhat drowned in Orientalist ideals and British colonialism, Kim is an exciting tale of espionage and adventure for kids of all ages 9 to 99. It is an exciting read. I just with that Kipling had been a little less bigoted towards the Empire. Nonetheless, probably the peak of his writing for children at least in terms of character and plot development and complexity.
“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
Amit Mishra
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
The best work of Rudyard Kipling. In it, he explored many of his childhood memories of India, and it is generally considered to be his most successful full-length novel.
Dec 01, 2008 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 tal
Aug 08, 2012 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’
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
James Henderson
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
Kim is my first adult reading of a Rudyard Kipling book. And I don't know how exactly I feel about this book; I feel a little muddle. I don't attempt to write an analytical review here, for I quite don't know what the story is all about. I'm sure there was a story, but whatever it was, it didn't grab my attention. But somehow I kept going and that is what is incredible.

The book is a mixed bag. In a short space the book talks of the diverse cultures, religions, politics, social attitudes under
Mar 16, 2016 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
Benjamin Duffy
Aug 23, 2011 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
Jun 29, 2014 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
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kim is Kipling's love letter to India. Written just as he was leaving, Kim unveils all the wonders of the Subcontinent: the colours, the smells, the people, the languages, the different religions. A more colourful Babylon.

It's not entirely kosher, of course. Much has been written on Kipling's racism, and no doubt there are racist elements in this book. In many ways, this colourful, beautiful India likely only exists as a white man's fantasy. The images are tinged by Kipling's own imagination. T
May 24, 2012 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
May 22, 2012 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
Sidharth Vardhan
Kipling knows a lot about India - but all that knowledge seems to be surface level only. The lama in the book for example shows outward ways of a lama but never any substantial knowledge of his own religion.

Kim's character is probably very powerful statement against racism. The very fist sentence of the book showing him to be speaking Indian language, having skin shade of Indians and even religious faith of Indians; and yet claiming he is a white Irish points out absurdity of his race. You might
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics
I read this book in memory of my Dad and my Grandad who loved Rudyard Kipling's way with words. I chose this edition narrated by Sam Dastor as I love the way he uses his voice to bring the story to life. There was much to love from the exploration of the culture of India, the characters, particularly the free spirited Kim and his deep and abiding friendship with the Lama. ...more
Katie Lumsden
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maybe 3.5. I found this a very interesting read, dealing with a really fascinating moment in history and with a lot of great themes. I did find it a little hard to follow in places, but overall it was an enjoyable and interesting novel.
J.G. Keely
Aug 26, 2013 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
Adithi Rao
In this book, Rudyard Kipling talks about a devoted and heart-warming friendship shared between a Buddhist monk and a shrewd, intelligent yet loyal little lad in the backdrop of the British Raaj. The friendship seems strange and peculiar at the start but takes an emotional and sincere form between the master and his chela.

Kipling is detailed in his account of a colourful, diverse and complicated India and Indian culture, albeit, views them through a colonist's lense and does not hesitate in expr
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
My thoughts are that this was not (to me), a very interesting book. It lacked, for lack of a better word an important emotional piece and that would be the absence of a female protagonist. While I did admire the friendship and love/admiration piece that Kim and the llama shared between them, I did find the actual story to be dull and uninteresting. Sorry to say after having read a number of books on India, this particular novel fell short for me on the impact it had on my reading and understandi ...more
Nov 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Some parts of Kim reminded me of Oliver Twist, I mean in both books, the protagonists are orphans who lead a difficult life due to their poverty. Although the settings are world apart. While it made for an interesting read, there were bit where I found some stuff written by Kipling problematic. Some might say it was in line with the time he lived in, but whatever.

It's definitely not the best classic out there, but offers interesting insights to how life was during colonial India.
Jim Coughenour
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, justforfun
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
Jan 29, 2011 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
Jason Pettus
This is my second time reading this 1901 novel by Rudyard Kipling, widely considered his masterpiece; and it's one I've wanted to take on again for a long time, because the first time I was distinctly behind on a deadline for a write-up I owed on it, and so had to rush through the second half of it in a blaze, and thus didn't have much of a chance to enjoy or even understand it in the way that a dense Victorian novel like this deserves. This time, however, I read it at the leisurely pace of only ...more
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-ebook

It seemed like high time to read one of the ‘classics.’ And, it seemed that Rudyard Kipling’s adventure tale, Kim would fill that bill. I already had a copy of the ebook.

Not a good choice, I’m afraid. Although it probably speaks more to my capacities than to the quality of the narrative, I haven’t a clue what this tale was all about. If you’ve read Kim, and understood what you read, you’re a better man than I am Gunga Din. I salute you.

Recommendation: As for me, I do no
Julie Davis
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slowly rereading/listening for an upcoming SFFaudio podcast episode. This is preparatory for when we discuss Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy in the future.

Even better the third time around — this time I enjoyed the whole thing, even the Russian encounter and subsequent events.

Listening to Madhav Sarma's reading which is delightful, for my second time through.
I have tried this multiple times and never gotten past the first few chapters. A friend brought Kim up as necessary to ful
Katie Hanna
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics

Rtc. Hopefully.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read Rudyard Kipling's Kim after reading Laurie King's The Game, a Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell mystery in which an adult Kim plays a major role. In Kipling's Kim, Kim is a savvy Irish child who was born in India; raised by a half-caste, opium-smoking woman after his parents died; and ran wild and curious in the subsequent years. At 13, he met up with his father's regiment, became a disciple to a lama, and joined the spy trade.

I could read this story in several ways: as a light-hearted advent
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Joseph Rudyard Kipling was a 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 a major innovator in

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