El's Reviews > The Day's Work

The Day's Work by Rudyard Kipling
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's review
Sep 26, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 19th-centurylit-late

Let me just state first and foremost: I really dislike stories that involve personification of inanimate objects. This disdain comes primarily from reading trying to read Tom Robbins books where things like a dildo carries on a conversation with a sock or whatever. It doesn't amuse me that much.

I can appreciate personification of animals a little better, though this also bugs me. (Funny, really, considering my own dogs are like real people, and my boyfriend and I can carry on whole conversations as through from the point-of-view of the dogs.) Books told from the point-of-view of a dog - oy. Hasn't it been done before? A whole heck of a lot? What more is there to say about running in the rain? I haven't even read Watership Down yet; but this has more to do with the trauma that came of watching the animated movie at a young age than it does the fact that the story is told from the points-of-view of rabbits.

So I was hesitant to read this Kipling book of short stories. The description on the back:
Animals, machines, nature and its relation to human nature - 'the sound of bare feet running upon soft earth' - are the central themes of this, one of Kipling's best collections of stories.

Animals? Machines? This may not be that good.

But really, the stories were better than I expected. His characters have real adventures, something that is lacking in most modern literature, and if some of the adventures occur in the life of a train, so be it. What can't be overlooked is Kipling's skill as a writer. I noticed it a little bit in The Jungle Books and Kim, but feel it comes across even more here in The Day's Work - likely because they're short stories and so Kipling would need to pack a heavier punch in order to tell his story in fewer pages.

So far probably my favorite Kipling and strangely the one I was least familiar with prior to reading Kipling. You don't really hear people talking about this one for some reason; or if they do I'm hanging out with the wrong people. Everyone talks about The Jungle Book and Kim and discuss the adventures in those stories, but I think I'm burnt out on hearing about those at this point. Disney did its own thing with The Jungle Book and Kim is supposed to be one of the best adventure stories ever, etc. etc. I often prefer the books that aren't as common or as popular. I feel one gets to know a writer better by reading their lesser-known titles, as is the case with this particular Kipling.

The Brushwood Boy is possibly one of the best short stories I've read.
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Reading Progress

September 26, 2010 – Started Reading
September 26, 2010 – Shelved
September 29, 2010 –
page 142
October 1, 2010 –
page 190
October 3, 2010 – Shelved as: 19th-centurylit-late
October 3, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Alex (new)

Alex Nice work. I agree about pet perspective. Not familiar enough with Tom Robbins (been a while) to feel you on the dildo personification. Considering writing my Nano from the perspective of a Kleenex box belonging to a 13-year-old boy, just to piss you off. It would be sortof like Sophie's Choice except with many more choices. "OH GOD NOT THAT ONE! That one was going to be a doctor..."

message 2: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El That really would piss me off and I'd probably harbor an annoyance of you that rivals the one I have for Dave Eggers. Which isn't to say it shouldn't be written. No, wait. I think that's exactly what that says. :)

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