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Plain Tales from the Hills

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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,152 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
First published in 1888, "Plain Tales from the Hills" was Kipling's first volume of prose fiction. Most of the stories it includes had already appeared in the "Civil and Military Gazette; " they were written before he reached the age of 22; and they show a remarkably precocious literary talent. His vignettes of life in Brittish India a hundred years ago give vivid insight ...more
Paperback, 295 pages
Published December 30th 1991 by Penguin Classics (first published 1888)
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Steve
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, e-books
This is a difficult book for me to review, since I read it as a freebie e-book. The table of contents sucks, and I can't go back and navigate the book -- at least not in a way that I can figure out. You get what you pay for. That said, a lot of these Kipling short story collections ARE available free. If you want to read these short stories in their original collection context (as opposed to some collection anthology), you can do so.

I read Plain Tales over a considerable stretch of time, so it'
...more
C.
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Too many people, when reviewing Kipling, review what the they assume to be the man, not his work. It is fashionable to think of Kipling as a nasty imperialist bigot, and all then flows from that opinion. In the end, such exercises, while occasionally entertaining, are pointless.

Kipling was a writer of genius who contributed a great deal to the art of the short story and part of the joy of "Plain Tales from the Hills" is that we get to see him developing: he wrote these stories between the ages o
...more
Peter
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kipling devotees
Shelves: classic
Rudyard Kipling's Kim is one of my favorite books in the world. For the few hours every year that I spend re-reading it, I'm in a magical world. And the ending never fails to leave me with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.

I've read and deeply enjoyed Kipling's Jungle Books as well. So when I heard, around fifteen years ago, that Kipling had written many more stories set in the India of his youth, and that some of them even featured Strickland Sahib from Kim, I immediately headed over to
...more
Madhulika Liddle
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young subaltern, ribbed by his regiment for his sweet and gentle demeanour—especially cruelly ribbed by the Senior Subaltern—makes a public promise to repay the debt. A little boy, whose best friends happen to be the Indians he fraternises with, becomes the reason for an amendment in an important ryotwari act. A frustrated young man commits suicide and two of his colleagues come to the rescue of his parents, far away in England…

The characters who people Kipling’s Plain Tales From The Hills ar
...more
Katherine Cowley
This is book number two in my challenge to read the complete works of Rudyard Kipling, in the order in which they were published.

I have fond memories of Kipling's Just So Stories from when I was a child, and I was later exposed to several of his short stories during my undergraduate years. After having read Plain Tales from the Hills I feel like I can say that if you want to understand the genre of the short story or learn how to write it, read Rudyard Kipling. He mixes character with the right
...more
Tim
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kipling is mostly a forgotten figure in America these days, where he is known primarily as the author of the children's stories in the "The Jungle Book" or a propagandist for the bad, racist British empire. Yet many clearly saw him as a great writer, enough so that he was one of the most popular writers of his time in the UK and took home a Nobel Prize. This made me curious, so I picked up his collected works in e-book form for a pittance. This book (his first, published in 1888) turned out to ...more
Douglas Dalrymple
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crisp, memorable storytelling. I was reminded of two other books, which couldn’t be more different from each other, but which each share something in common with Kipling’s early work in this collection of tales.

First, Turgenev’s A Sportsman’s Notebook. There’s something in the relaxed narrative tone, perhaps – wavering always between engaged/interested and disengaged/disinterested. You’re entirely in the narrator’s hands with both Turgenev and Kipling, but the author’s grasp is so perfectly con
...more
Tim Weakley
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ripping-tales
Stellar! One of the best reads for me in a long time. I picked up this old red calf-bound copy for $3 along with a matching copy of Kim from a second hand store. I had only read the first Jungle Book by Kipling before, and I wanted to remedy that. What a great choice as a first read! Yes I know it's full of racist comments. Yes I know it's a relic of empire. People it's period work! If you can't take an object for what it is and where it came from grow up. I read the book as an example of an Ang ...more
Wayne
Nov 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in India, the British raj and good storytelling.
Recommended to Wayne by: a close friend
When I began this I really enjoyed Kipling's fresh style and his hopping right into the stories - no beating about the bush, no longwindedness. Perhaps it reflected his youth, as he was only 22 when they were published, his first book, and they were to make him famous.
Deservedly so and a remarkable achievement.

Enjoyed, that is, until I hit the second gobbledygook tale written in some atrocious, supposedly Irish, dialect as narrated by one Mulvaney.
There were to be four of these endurance tests c
...more
Jemma
Jul 28, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My generation doesn't read Kipling as he is regarded as old fashioned, unintellectual and imperialist. So, I surprised myself a year or two ago by finding his poetry not to be as bad as I'd expected. Some bits were rather good and more was if you edited the poems. Plus I liked the films of Jungle Book and the Man Who Would be King, so perhaps it was time to take the plunge and read some Kipling.

Sad to say the criticisms are valid. Possibly exacerbated by the short story format which is never my
...more
Daren
This was a bit hit and miss. Lots of short stories, some linking through with repeated characters. Each of the stories is set in Simla (Shimla), the hill station where the British 'Summered'.

I had to give the ones written in that gibberish that was intended as an Irish dialect, a miss. It was not well done, and made reading the story too painful to persist with, so I skipped over those (four, I think?) stories.
It was interesting that the narrator told some stories, and was involved in some stori
...more
Jefferson
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Comedies & Tragedies of Manners in the British Raj

Rudyard Kipling wrote his first collection of stories, Plain Tales from the Hills (1888), with a clear style, ironic tone, tight pacing, and an eye for drama. When you think that many of the tales were first published in the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, British India, where Kipling worked as a journalist from when he was about 17 and the rest when he was 22, the breath and depth of his youthful insights into the British Raj, indigen
...more
Michael
This is a whole series of short stories telling about numerous individuals in Colonial India and tales as told about those individuals. The hills are where the British escaped to in the higher latitudes to avoid the heat of the Indian summer that everyone else had to endure. The author is the listener and he relates to us each of the stories told to him, which are as varied as the British civil servants could be. There were though three stories that I just didn't bother reading because they were ...more
Abigailann (Abigail)

A series of short stories encompassing a range of styles and moral tales. There were sections of this book which I really enjoyed, sections which I found charming, some which I found educational and others which were hard because they were written as if someone was speaking with a strong accent. The whole book felt dated, but not necessarily in a bad way. It was almnost funny sometimes to see how attitudes and moral standards have changed since the book was written. Definatly worth a delve into,
...more
Lucy
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you could remove the Mulvaney stories, this would be a five star review. Kipling writes beautifully except when he is attempting to transcribe accents. The book works as a whole because of the recurrence of various characters, and the consistent style of the narrator. It's astonishing to think how young he was when he wrote these.
Bab
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like 4.5++
Light and casual but deep and sharp too, and precise and poignant... well, pretty much Rudyard Kipling as we know him - The Man Who Would Be King of His Craft and Has Remained So.
Manuel Alfonseca
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting collection of short tales that show Kipling's masterly way of writing, specially taking into account that when he wrote them he was little more than twenty.
Anne Hart
Mar 02, 2017 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Annie Hart
Literary Review
March 2, 2017
Professor: Ruth Holmes
ENG 244-100M
Survey of British Literature

Plain Tales from the Hills is a collection of short stories written by Rudyard Kipling. These short stories were initially published during the late 1800’s in the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, India for British Colonists to read. Kipling later edited, revised, and published this collection of stories for an English audience to enjoy. Kipling chose to tell these stories in first person and
...more
Bob Newman
Yesterday's Fad, Today's Flat Beer

I believe Kipling was wildly popular in his day. This collection of stories about English life in India may have entranced the masses and sold a lot of newspapers in the first decade of the 20th century, but in the context of over a hundred years later, they have lost most of their shine. While Kipling might have been the foremost raconteur of British India, compared to great short story writers like Chekhov, de Maupassant, or Twain, he comes across today as coy
...more
Shelby Abbott
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rudyard Kipling Plain Tales from the Hills was published in 1888, and is a collection of fictional short stories. Many of his works presented in this collection are humorous and seem to have some type of profound statement in each story. My general understanding of Kipling’s purpose for this literary collection, is to implicate a comical outlook on society in his time period primarily set in India (where Kipling is from). Many of the tales looked at the common life of common people, dealing with ...more
Heidi
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wasn't a huge fan of this one, but the stories did entertain me at times. I got a good perspective on what the culture of the British Raj looked like, from many different points-of-view, but it mainly leaned toward the British bias (which makes sense, these stories being written by Kipling, as he does that.)

Overall, they humored me and it was a painless read for a schoolbook, but not something I would read in my leisure time. I did glean an understanding of the mistreatment of Indians in the tim
...more
Cade
I liked the writing style, but the content was variable. These are short stories generally concerned with routine social interactions but often with twists related to being set in various places in the Himalayan foothills of India. Some stories could even have occurred without changes in 19th century Devon instead of Simla. At best, the stories were mildly amusing, and some were simply dull. The dull ones were probably dull because the impact doesn't reach the modern reader across the cultural g ...more
John Frankham
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-pre-1900
The man was a genius. So young. Humane and witty and ironic, Kipling just 'knows' people and their foibles and weaknesses, without being judgmental. No wonder he won the Nobel Prize.

"First published in 1888, "Plain Tales from the Hills" was Kipling's first volume of prose fiction. Most of the stories it includes had already appeared in the "Civil and Military Gazette; " they were written before he reached the age of 22; and they show a remarkably precocious literary talent. His vignettes of life
...more
Kate McDonald
Goddamn colonialism
Sandeep
Plain tales, well, yeah, rather plain Victorian era tales!
Sarah Logan
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short stories of colonial life in India - insightful, real - capturing the quirks and emotions of characters vividly - and very entertaining.
Jerry Pogan
A good selection of short stories of colonial India. Some of the stories were very good but a few left me wondering what was the point. The endings of several stories seemed a bit hurried, in fact one story ended with and the rest isnt worth printing.
Jan-Joost Bouwman
This took me a lot longer than expected to get through. Partly because of the English, partly because of the contents. There were a lot of Anglo-Indian words I did not know (very happy with my e-reader with dictionary function) and also a fair bit of antiquated words. And finally the stories about the Irish soldiers were very difficult to read because of the phonetical representation of their accents. All in all it was difficult to read much more than one or two stories on my daily commute.

Conte
...more
Malquiviades
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A reading that brought me close to the real giants of literature.

I must admit my reticence to read from them in (this case) their original language in fear of missing a lot due to my not so good proficiency in English. And it has been shown without any trace of doubt that the latter is not so good. At least, I was not so contended with myself that I did not know it in advance.

And even I can hardly managed to go through the Irish "accent" of private Mulvaney, "The Taking of Lungtungpen" will sta
...more
Jim
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Born in Bombay in 1865, Rudyard Kipling launched his literary career with Plain Tales from the Hills and, in 1907, became the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize. Many of the stories in this book were originally published in a Lahore newspaper for which Kipling worked as a journalist. Later, he revised them to re-create as vividly as possible the sights and smells of India for English readers. Including "Lispeth," "Beyond the Pale," and "In the Pride of His Youth," this collection

...more
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6989
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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“A woman's guess is much more accurate than a man's certainty.” 402 likes
“Now India is a place beyond all others where one must not take things too seriously—the midday sun always excepted.” 21 likes
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